State media reported that Sinopec will proceed with its bid to develop 16 Iranian oilfields, despite the diplomatic pressure from the US that caused a Japanese consortium to pull out of the bidding. The US government, which has spoken directly with Sinopec, views the oil deals as undermining its goal of ending Iran's suspected nuclear weapons program via economic sanctions.
Sinopec is China's second-largest oil group and is currently searching global oil reserves to supply its refineries. It accounts for 80% of China's oil imports, with more than half of those imports coming from the Middle East. It already has an exploration project in Iran's Zavarehkashan block and was offered a natural gas exploration and production deal in January by Saudi Arabia.