The Wednesday report by the Reuters news agency said that Iranian crude oil shipments to China had increased over the past three months to an average of more than half a million barrels per day (bpd).
The report cited data obtained from traders and ship-tracking firms showing that indirect Iranian crude sales to China had picked up in August after Beijing released new quotas for oil imports.
China’s state-run refiners avoid importing Iranian oil because of the US sanctions and data by the Chinese customs office shows the country has not imported any oil from Iran since the start of 2021.
However, independent refiners in China started to increase their purchases of Iranian oil in August after they obtained fresh permits from the government, added the report by Reuters.
Data by Vortexa Analytics covered in the report showed that Iranian oil exports to China hit 660,000 bpd in August and 545,000 bpd in September, before dropping back to 470,000 bpd in October.
The figures indicate that shipments over the three-month period had increased by over 17% compared to the average reported for June-July.
Analysts regard the growing Iranian oil sales to China and other customers as a sign of failure for Washington sanctions against Tehran.
While announcing the sanctions in early 2018 after pulling out of the Iran nuclear deal, authorities in Washington said they would do their best to cut Iran’s crude exports to zero.
However, unconfirmed reports show that flow of oil from Iran has steadied since the middle of last year as Tehran has come up with various solutions, including offering major discounts to buyers, to circumvent the sanctions.