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Iran Oil Exports to China Surge

Iran’s oil exports are surging, offering solace to both Tehran and a global market fretting over the prospect of sanctions squeezing Russian supply. Much of it appears to be finding its way to China.

The Persian Gulf country’s oil exports climbed to about 1.3 million barrels a day in November, and last month held near the highest in four years, according to data from Vortexa and Kpler, two well-known shipping analytics firms.

FGE, an energy-market consultant, forecasts that Iran will boost its shipments of crude and refined products by as much as 200,000 barrels a day this year.

The jump comes as sanctions on Moscow threaten to tighten oil supply from a key producer. The picture is nuanced for the US and its allies — who want low oil prices but have also been trying to curb Iranian exports in order to restrict the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program.

Nuclear negotiations between Iran and world powers including the US have all but broken down. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken this week said Washington had all but given up on a deal, which would ease oil sanctions on Iran in return for it curbing atomic activities.

Still, several oil traders have speculated that the US is happy for Iranian shipments to continue as long as they help keep oil prices in check.