China has imported about 12,000 barrels of oil per day from Iran in July, according to the latest Chinese Customs’ data.
Beijing has imported Iranian crude from the Islamic Republic of Iran, worth a total of $134 million, after indicating zero imports in June.
The figure corresponds with information provided to Radio Farda by Kpler, a data intelligence company providing transparency solutions in commodity markets.
Sixteen crude tankers, so far, have secretly delivered Iranian crude to the markets, via clandestine ship-to-ship transfers in the middle of oceans, TankerTrackers reported.
Reuters had also reported earlier that Venezuela was using the same ruse to sell its crude to China as “Malaysian crude” to circumvent U.S. sanctions.
Furthermore, NBC reported on Wednesday, August 26, “Four oil tankers have been stripped of their flags following an NBC News investigation into allegations they secretly transported Iranian oil in defiance of crippling U.S. sanctions imposed by President Donald Trump.”
According to data from TankerTrackers the four ships all made covert visits to Iranian waters this year, where they collectively picked up millions of barrels of oil.
The trips were part of what TankerTrackers describes as an intricate “ballet” performed by Iranian and foreign vessels, in which ships manipulate their tracking data to hide their involvement in defying U.S. sanctions.
A July 31 report from NBC News featured fifteen ships, including four — the Giessel, the Ekaterina, the Lerax, and the Amfitriti — sailing under the flag of the Caribbean island state of St. Kitts & Nevis.
Five days after the report was broadcast, the St. Kitts & Nevis Ship Registry decided it would no longer allow the tankers to fly under its flag.
However, China’s customs data show that its oil imports from Iran in the first seven months of the year dropped by 82% compared with the same period last year. In the meantime, China’s oil imports from the U.S. almost doubled in July. The average daily U.S. oil shipments to China in the first seven months of the year also show a growth of 31%.
China’s oil imports from Russia, Iraq and Saudi Arabia substantially increased in the first seven months of this year.
Beijing’s oil purchases from Malaysia and Oman also grew by 45 percent and 22 percent, respectively.