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Sinopec Corp

Sinopec Corp

Industry: 
Energy
Symbol: 
NYSE:SNP
Country: 
China
Contact Information: 
Sources: 

China International United Petroleum and Chemical Co.  and Unipec are subsidiaries of SINOPEC

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“China's March crude oil imports from Iran rose more than a third from a year ago, keeping imports in the first three months of 2014 close to the levels seen before Western sanctions were applied more than two years ago. China's intake from Iran in March rose 36.1 percent to 555,182 barrels per day (bpd), customs data showed on Monday, in keeping with the rise in exports from the OPEC member after the November nuclear deal that eased some sanctions on Tehran…China's imports have been higher this year largely due to new volumes of condensate, a super light crude, and also because top refiner Sinopec Corp may have boosted liftings under a long-term agreement, traders said. China's oil arrivals from Iran in the first quarter of this year were at 557,605 bpd, up 36.2 percent from a year ago. On a daily basis, China's March imports of Iranian oil climbed 0.5 percent from February's 552,613 bpd. Ship loading data seen last week by Reuters shows that China's crude and condensate intake this month - based on March tanker schedules - should be around 562,000 bpd before jumping to more than 600,000 bpd in May…China may have trouble holding down its own Iranian oil imports in 2014 as state-run trader Zhuhai Zhenrong Corp is negotiating a new condensate contract to supply an independent petrochemical firm Dragon Aromatics, Reuters has reported. Dragon Aromatics has since the second half of 2013 been buying condensate from Iran as feedstock. Sinopec, under a new push to cut crude purchase costs, may have stepped up Iranian oil lifting since late 2013 as the supplies are deemed competitive versus similar grades from Saudi Arabia, traders have said." (Reuters, “China's March crude imports from Iran up 36.1 pct y/y, 4/21/14)

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“China's daily Iranian crude oil imports fell 2.2 percent to 428,840 barrels per day in 2013, a smaller-than-expected drop than previously forecast due to imports of condensate by an independent firm…Tuesday's customs data showed that China's December crude imports from Iran fell 14.5 percent from a year earlier to 507,707 bpd. For the whole of 2013, China - Tehran's top oil client and trading partner - imported 21.442 million tonnes of Iranian crude, or 428,840 bpd, data from the General Administration of Customs showed. That compared with around 27.76 million tonnes, or an average of 555,200 bpd in 2011, prior to the latest rounds of toughened sanctions. December's was down 5.7 percent versus November and the fourth highest daily rate last year, supporting indications that top refiner Sinopec Corp had increased liftings since November to top up cuts in previous months. The cut for the whole of last year was below the 5-10 percent estimated by Chinese oil officials in late 2012, after independently-run petrochemical firm, Dragon Aromatics, had since the second half of 2013 shipped in Iran condensate, a light crude oil as feedstock.” (Reuters, “China's Iranian crude imports drop 2.2 pct in 2013,” 1/21/14)

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"China may buy more Iranian oil next year as a state trader is negotiating a new light crude contract that could raise imports from Tehran to levels not seen since tough Western sanctions were imposed in 2012, running the risk of upsetting Washington…industry sources say Chinese state-trader Zhuhai Zhenrong Corp, which was sanctioned by Washington in early 2012 for supplying gasoline to Iran, is in talks with the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) for a new contract for condensate. However, it was not clear how much of the light crude would be imported through any new term deal. Zhenrong or others could also continue buying condensate through spot deals…Zhenrong, an affiliate of China's defense authorities in the 1990s, acts largely as an import agent for China Petroleum and Chemical Corp, or Sinopec, whose refineries process Iranian crude...…The balance of China's contract volumes from Iran would be going to Sinopec, through its trading vehicle Unipec. Unipec agreed with NIOC early last year to an 8-year oil contract to end-2019 to lift around 265,000 bpd, about a quarter of which is condensate, according to a second trading official. Under U.S. and European sanctions, Sinopec has been lifting below those contractual volumes to win waivers to the U.S. measures every six months, with one official estimating the cut at 11-13 percent. Sinopec has filled the gap mainly with Iraqi and Russian supplies…A Sinopec spokesperson said he was not aware of the contract and was unable to comment. Since November, Sinopec has loaded slightly above contractual rates following a meeting the previous month between Iran's deputy oil minister Ali Mojedi and a Sinopec executive in charge of trading, said the second official. But Sinopec may not risk raising imports significantly higher before more progress is made on easing sanctions on Iran.'There are still potential risks without signs of sanctions being lifted in a meaningful way,' said a procurement official with a Sinopec refinery." (Reuters, "Exclusive: China may raise Iran oil imports with new contract: sources," 12/31/13)

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"The main cuts for the year could come from Unipec, trading vehicle of Sinopec Corp, as the state refiner came under more political pressure compared to the unlisted state trader Zhuhai Zhenrong Corp, which was blacklisted by Washington in early 2012." (Reuters, "China's H1 Oil Imports Drop, Make Case for Waivers," 7/22/13)

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"China largest refiner Sinopec processes nearly all the Iranian crude imported into the country, which is shipped in by Sinopec's trading arm Unipec and state trader Zhuhai Zhenrong Corp." (Reuters, "Chinese tanker loads Iranian oil, first since July," 4/2/13) 

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"Iran has changed the pricing of its term exports of South Pars condensate to China's top refiner, Sinopec Corp, this year, effectively raising the premium on sales of the super light crude to its top client, Chinese industry sources said... Officials said the change was agreed between the National Iranian Oil Company and Sinopec last year and takes effect from 2013. The change has led several Sinopec plants to moderately reduce their contracted amounts for this year, though it was not immediately known by how much. Last year, Sinopec was contracted to lift about 70,000 barrels a day. Condensate forms a small part of Sinopec's Iranian oil imports, but its purchases from the Middle Eastern country last year are estimated to have been worth about $2.5 billion. The Chinese refiner, the world's largest processor of Iranian crude oil, was contracted to buy about 430,000 bpd of Iranian oil last year." (Reuters, "Iran raises condensate prices to China's Sinopec," 01/10/13)

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"At least seven companies from China, India, South Korea and South Africa continued to have investments in Iran's oil and gas sectors in 2012 even as Tehran came under international scrutiny for its nuclear ambitions, a U.S. government watchdog said on Friday . . . The United States requires buyers of Iranian oil to make significant cuts to their oil purchases, or risk being cut off from the U.S. financial system. Most of the companies still involved in Iran's energy sector are from countries that on Friday received six-month waivers called 'exceptions' to the sanctions because they have reduced oil trade. Chinese activity included Sinopec's 51 percent stake in Iran's Yadavaran oil field, and China National Petroleum Corp's interest in a project to develop the Azadegan field, the GAO said."(Reuters, "Some foreign firms still active in Iran's energy sector: U.S. report," 12/7/12)

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"Sinopec , Asia's biggest refiner, halted purchases of condensate from Iran's South Pars field from July through September, partly because of a planned refinery overhaul, industry sources said." (Reuters, "China's Sept oil imports from Iran down 24 pct y/y," 10/24/2012) 

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Iranian crude volumes received by China have been below contracted levels since September, because Iran's tanker fleet, the sole transporter of its crude to China, has been struggling to meet delivery schedules, trade sources said on Friday. Iran, grappling with tough Western sanctions targeting its energy and petrochemical sectors, has delayed loading of some shipments for September, October and November to China, its largest oil customer and top trading partner . . . China is expected to have nominated 15.5 million barrels of Iranian crude for September, roughly 520,000 barrels per day (bpd), which would have required eight very large crude carriers (VLCC) to transport each month. A round trip voyage between Iran and China takes about 48 days . . . The delays to China, however, will have no substantial impact on the production plans of Asia's top refiner Sinopec, a key buyer of Iranian crude, as its has adjusted crude supplies within its plants.'Refinery run rates have not been affected, but switching to other crudes makes some refineries less profitable,' said a second Chinese source, who also was not authorised to talk to the media. (Chicago Tribune, "Iran's shipping woes delay crude deliveries to China -trade," 10/19/12)

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"The delivery of millions of barrels of Iranian crude to its top buyer, China, is at risk of delay due to a dispute between refining giant Sinopec and shipper National Iranian Tanker Co (NITC) over freight terms, Beijing-based sources said on Tuesday. China has turned to NITC for delivery of the 500,000 barrels per day of crude it buys from Iran as a result of European Union sanctions . . . That left Sinopec unable to use Chinese shippers and forced it to use NITC. No vessels have been named to carry the 12 million barrels of crude that China has nominated for loading in Iran in the first 20 days of July, industry sources told Reuters.'There is some problem between NITC and (Sinopec's trading arm) Unipec over the freight issue,' said an Iranian oil official who requested anonymity as he was not authorized to speak to the media.'Unipec has proposed a number and it's now under consideration by NITC. I hope this can be solved very soon,' the official said . . . Unipec last month requested that Iran deliver July-loading crude cargoes to Chinese ports and provide price quotes on a cost-insurance-freight basis . . . Sinopec, through Unipec and state-trader Zhuhai Zhenrong Corp, had scheduled to lift some 500,000 bpd of Iranian oil this month, traders said. However, Chinese traders said Sinopec's import appetite could be limited after record imports in May and lacklustre domestic demand that has forced it to cut production at its refineries . . . Sinopec slashed its purchases of Iran crude by more than half in the first quarter in a dispute with Tehran over the cost of the crude and payment terms as it negotiated a 2012 supply contract. Iranian shipments to Sinopec started to rebound in April following the end of the dispute, but the damage to Iran's market share in China had already been done."  (Reuters, "Exclusive: Freight dispute risks delay in Iran oil to China - sources," 7/2/12)

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"A steep drop-off in China's crude-oil imports from Iran earlier this year, which companies involved blamed on a contract dispute, has provided a face-saving way for Beijing to appease the U.S. even as it officially maintains opposition to U.S. sanctions against Tehran, analysts said.

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The U.S. decision on Thursday to exempt China from penalties targeting financial institutions that do business with Iran's energy sector came after data showing that China's imports of crude from Iran over the first five months of 2012 were down almost 25% from a year earlier. China International United Petroleum & Chemical Co., known as Unipec, and National Iranian Oil Co. started the year stuck in drawn-out contract negotiations. Though they reached agreement in February, imports didn't recover until April; by May they were back to levels similar to those of a year earlier.

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The exemption appears in part to be a goodwill gesture as both China and the U.S. enter sensitive political periods and remain starkly divided on diplomatic and military issues ranging from continuing violence in Syria to strengthened U.S. security ties with China's neighbors…Chinese majors such as Unipec's parent China Petroleum & Chemical Corp., or Sinopec Corp., are venturing abroad in search of higher returns, and U.S. energy projects look particularly attractive because of the recent boom in North American shale gas, which China hopes to replicate back home…Sinopec recently completed its first major U.S. deal, a $2.44 billion purchase of a one-third stake in five shale-gas assets owned by Devon Energy Corp., and more investments in the region are likely to follow." (Wall Street Journal, "U.S., China Find Path on Iran," 6/29/12)

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"Asia's top buyers of Iranian oil cut imports by more than a quarter of a million barrels per day in the first five months of the year as they prepared for U.S. sanctions that take effect on Thursday and EU curbs that bite from Sunday…Still, both China and Japan plan to keep some oil flowing from Iran…Unipec, the trading arm of China's top refiner Sinopec Corp , requested Iran to deliver July-loading crude cargoes to Chinese ports, sources said last week. One source estimated Sinopec will lift about 500,000 bpd for July, a level similar to the average amount the top Asian refiner bought from Iran last year." (Reuters, "Iran's top Asian oil buyers cut imports 18 pct," 6/28/2012)

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"Unipec, the trading arm Sinopec Corp (0386.HK), requested Iran to deliver July-loading crude cargoes to Chinese ports, sources said. One source estimated Sinopec will lift about 500,000 bpd for July, a level similar to the average amount the top Asian refiner bought from Iran last year. The Unipec request suggests that China hasn't worked a permanent way to cover China-flagged tankers which have been transporting at least part of the Iranian oil." (Reuters, "Japan, China to import Iran oil after EU Ban," 6/20/12)

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"Chinese refiner Sinopec has turned down offers of bargain Iranian crude and will cut imports by up to a fifth this year, a senior Chinese oil executive said, insisting ties with the United States were more important than cut-price oil as the West squeezes Tehran over its nuclear program . . . While China made big cuts in first-quarter imports from Iran, the United States is wary that Beijing might find it difficult to resist a bargain if Tehran tries to sell crude it can no longer export to other buyers later this year. Sinopec has already resisted such offers, said the Beijing-based official who has knowledge of the refiner's trading operations . . . Sinopec has set its 2012 import target for Iranian crude at 400,000-420,000 barrels per day (bpd), 16-20 percent below last year's 500,000 bpd, said the official, asking not to be named." (Reuters, "Sinopec turns down cut-price Iran crude: source," 6/12/12)

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"Iran is poised to lose at least 192,000 barrels a day of crude-supply contracts, or about 9.5 percent of its global exports, as Asian buyers curb purchases amid western sanctions targeting the nation's oil trade. Mangalore Refinery & Petrochemicals Ltd. (MRPL) and Essar Oil Ltd., India's biggest buyers of Iranian crude, and China International United Petroleum & Chemical Co. have reduced or plan to cut purchases from the Islamic Republic by as much as 15 percent. China and India are Iran's largest customers. In Japan, the only Asian country to get an exemption from U.S. sanctions after it demonstrated reductions in purchases, Cosmo Oil Co. plans to cut imports by 25 percent, while JX Nippon Oil & Energy Corp. suspended talks with the Persian Gulf nation over a 10,000 barrel-a-day contract." (Bloomberg, "Iran May Lose 9.5% of Oil Contracts as Asian Buyers Cut Imports," 5/3/12)

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"China's top refiner Sinopec Corp will in January buy less than half the crude it typically imports from Iran, trade sources said on Monday, as the two haggle over terms against a backdrop of rising international pressure on Tehran... Sinopec instructed Zhenrong to make the cut, the source said. Zhenrong has a deal to buy from Iran and deliver the crude to Sinopec refineries in China. Sinopec last week also cut the volumes it imports under a second, direct deal with NIOC. It has reduced imports for January by around 165,000 bpd, industry sources told Reuters last week. The two sides disagree over the period given to Sinopec to pay for the oil, sources said. Sinopec requested a 90 day credit period, while Iran wants the refiner to pay in 60 days. For 2011 term contracts payment terms were on a mix of 60 and 90 days, depending on which refinery was taking the crude... Though the cuts of 285,000 bpd make up less than 6 percent of China's total daily crude imports of 5 million bpd, Sinopec will need to fill the gap from alternative sources. One could be Libya, from which Sinopec bought a total of 2 million barrels for December or January lifting, after a halt for more than half a year due to the civil war there, traders said. Huang Wensheng, spokesman for both the parent company and the listed arm Sinopec Corp, said he was not aware of the cuts so could not comment. 'Our trading department is in full charge of procuring crude oil for Sinopec. We rarely make checks on them about this type of information,' he said. Sinopec, which has over recent years been boosting its trading portfolio, boasts nearly 1 million bpd of crude from its global trading network, a pool it can easily tap but which would mean other buyers would suffer. He said some Sinopec plants are looking for oil to replace Iranian South Pars condensate that was among the crudes cut from the January programme." (Reuters, "China halves Jan Iran oil imports in payment dispute," 12/19/2011)

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Sinopec financed 33% of a $.3.3 billion expansion to Iran's Imam Khomeini refinery, described as the largest oil refinery in the Middle East, with a capacity of 250,000 barrels per day.

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"Open sources reported that Sinopec's trading arm Unipec sold gasoline to Iran in 2010." U.S. Government Accountability Office, Report: "Firms Reported in Open Sources to Have Sold Iran Refined Petroleum Products between January 1, 2009 and June," September 3, 2010)

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"China Petroleum & Chemical Corp., known as Sinopec, and Malaysia's SKS Ventures have taken over some parts of the projects, but the bulk of the work is now done by little-known local consortiums, some of them affiliates of the Guard's construction arm. Others belong to banks and the state."---Regarding refinery projects (South Pars). (Washington Post, "Sanctions slow development of huge natural gas field in Iran," July 23, 2010)

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 Sinopec's trading arm Unipec booked a vessel to load 250,000 barrels in Singapore on Tuesday, with options to discharge in the Gulf. The cargo was likely to go to Iran, trade sources said.

A Sinopec spokesman was not immediately available for comment.

Unipec sold gasoline to Iran between 2001 and 2004. State-run Zhuhai Zhenrong Corp, the world's largest single lifter of Iranian crude, also used to be a regular supplier to Iran. (Reuters, "Exclusive: China's top oil firms sell gasoline to Iran-trade," 4/14/10)

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Last year’s foreign buying spree was not the first for the likes of China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) and China Petrochemicals Corporation (Sinopec), but previously the Chinese firms had mostly purchased assets in Africa and Central Asia, which typically produce oil similar to China’s own crude...All three of China’s biggest state-controlled oil companies have clinched deals with Tehran to develop some of Iran’s biggest oil and gasfields. Last year’s crop included agreements for CNPC to develop phase 11 of the massive South Pars gasfield to develop three oilfields. (The National, "China's global quest for oil," 1/9/10)

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"Top refiner Sinopec Corp. has agreed to import 150,000-160,000 bpd of Iranian crude this year, unchanged from 2008." (Reuters, "FACTBOX: Iran's major oil customers, energy partners," 8/19/09)

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"China's top three oil firms PetroChina (0857.HK), Sinopec Corp (0386.HK) and CNOOC, and state banks such as China Construction Bank (0939.HK) were briefed last week by senior Iranian oil officials in Beijing on a series of refining projects under Tehran's planning board, the officials said." (Reuters, "Iran seeks China investment to build refineries," 7/13/09)

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"But Greg Priddy, an oil analyst at the Eurasia Group consultancy, said Chinese companies did not have the same expertise as more established European operators. 'Iran was already looking to companies like Sinopec and CNPC, which are doing onshore work which is technologically much easier,' Mr Priddy said, but he added that those companies would not be able to do the more difficult offshore development needed for South Pars." (Financial Times, "Turmoil turns Iran's energy sector to Beijing," 7/11/09)

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"The enormous New York State Common Retirement Fund plans to divest $86.2 million in investments from nine companies doing business in Sudan and Iran...The decision comes after two years of reviewing these companies, the potential risk of the investments and, in some cases, humanitarian efforts in these countries. 'We don't expect our investments to benefit regimes that support genocide and terrorism,' said DiNapoli. The fund plans to divest out of $86 million in Gazprom (OGZPY), Inpex (1605.TO), Lukoil (LUKOY), Oil And Natural Gas Corp (500312.BY), OMV (OMVKY), Petroleo Brasilia (PBR), Statoil (STO), Wartsila OYJ and Sinopec Corp. DiNapoli said the firms were chosen because 'they failed to respond or we were not satisfied with their responses' when asked to provide information to the fund on the investments and their risks." (Dow Jones Newswires, NY Comptroller To Divest $86.2M In State Pension Fund Investments, 6/30/09)

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