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Unipec

Unipec

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

Unipec is a subsidiary of Sinopec Corp

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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…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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"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 . . . '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."  (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.

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.

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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"State-controlled China International United Petroleum & Chemical Co., known as Unipec, had skipped purchases from National Iranian Oil Co. as they worked out differences over the terms of the supply agreement." (The Wall Street Journal, "China Oil Imports From Iran Rebound," 5/21/2012)

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"China International United Petroleum & Chemicals Co., Ltd. (UNIPEC), a wholly owned affiliate to China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation (Sinopec.), is China's largest oil trading company." (Company website)
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"Most of the oil that goes from Iran to China is handled by the Unipec trading arm of Sinopec, China’s second-largest oil company, and through another trading company called Zhuhai Zhenrong, the oil industry executives said." (Financial Times, "Iran Accepts Renminbi for Crude Oil," 5/8/2012)
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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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