Chinese state oil giant Sinopec will cut crude oil imports from Iran in half this month, amid intense pressure from the US to conform to its sanctioning of Iranian energy exports to take effect in November, Reuters has learned.
The sources estimated that Sinopec’s daily intake from the National Iranian Oil Company will drop to 130,000 barrels, based on the two corporations’ existing contract.
This would amount to only 20% of what China was importing from Iran last year, for whom China is its largest and most important client. The potential blow to Tehran is likely to offset the gains hinted earlier in the week when China agreed with Russia and the EU to maintain some trade conditions of the 2015 Iran deal.
This is not the first occasion that Washington has lobbied third parties to enforce sanctions on Iran. However, as one of the sources notes, “this round is completely different from last time. Then it was more of a consultative tone, but this time it’s almost like an ultimatum.”