China’s crude oil imports from Iran in May jumped 36% year-on-year to 3.22 million tones, the second-highest level on record, Reuters reported, citing customs data. The increases were both a result of state refiner Sinopec’s (SNP.NYSE, 0386.HKG, 600028.SHA) new push to cut crude procurement costs and the easing of Western sanctions imposed on Iran to curb its nuclear program. Also contributing to strong import figures were imports started around last August by an independently-run petrochemicals company in southeast China of condensate, a very light crude oil from Iran’s South Pars gas project. China counts condensate as crude oil.
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