China’s oil imports from Iran up in May on better refining margins

07 June, 2024

China’s imports of Iranian crude oil in May surged to the highest level in seven months after a recovery in refining margins.

According to Bloomberg, China imported 1.54 Mln bpd of Iranian oil in May 2024, the most since October 2023, according to data from Kpler. Over half went to buyers in Qingdao where many independent refiners are clustered.

China’s independent refiners — known as teapots — have struggled with weak margins for making fuels this year that’s led to companies cutting operational rates. The processors account for a quarter of the nation’s total refining capacity and are typically big producers of diesel.

The profit from converting crude into diesel and gasoline — or the crack spread — has recovered since early April and are near the highest seasonal level in 10 years, according to a note from Mysteel OilChem dated June 6.

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