Iranian tanker delivers oil to China

The Iranian tanker carried 2 million barrels of oil to the port of Dalian in Northeastern China. (File/AFP)
Updated 09 October 2018

Iranian tanker delivers oil to China

  • Iran is finding fewer takers for its crude ahead of US sanctions on its oil exports that will take effect in November
  • The shipping source said there is no buyer earmarked for the cargo

BEIJING: A vessel carrying 2 million barrels of Iranian oil discharged the crude into a bonded storage tank at the port of Dalian in northeast China on Monday, according to Refinitiv Eikon data and a shipping agent with knowledge of the matter.
Iran, the third-largest producer in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), is finding fewer takers for its crude ahead of US sanctions on its oil exports that will go into effect on Nov. 4. The country previously held oil in storage at Dalian during the last round of sanctions in 2014 that was later sold to buyers in South Korea and India.
The very large crude carrier Dune, operated by National Iranian Tanker Co, offloaded oil into a bonded storage site at the Xingang section of the port, according to a shipping source based in Dalian, adding this was the first Iranian oil to discharge into bonded storage in nearly four years.
The tanker left the Iranian oil port at Kharg Island on Sept. 12, according to ship-tracking data.
The Xingang area is home to several tank farms including commercial and strategic reserves. China National Petroleum Corp. (CNPC) and Dalian Port PDA Co. Ltd. both operate commercial storage in the area, according to information on their company websites.
An investor relations official at Dalian Port declined to comment.
A manager at the bonded crude storage site operated by Dalian Port declined to comment whether Iranian oil were moved to the tanks, calling it the “worst time” to give any comment regarding Iranian crude because of the US sanctions.
A person at the CNPC-owned storage site who refused to identify himself when contacted by Reuters said it is “impossible” that the oil is stored there.
A spokesman for CNPC said he had no information on this matter.
An executive with the China office of National Iranian Oil Co. (NIOC) declined to comment. NIOC also did not respond to an email request seeking comment if it is storing oil at Dalian.
The shipping source said there is no buyer earmarked for the cargo.
Three other NITC tankers are set to arrive in Dalian in the next week or two, the ship-tracking data shows. Some of those cargoes are also likely to end up in bonded storage as the refineries in the region, controlled by CNPC, are not equipped to process Iranian oil, said three sources at state-run Chinese refiners.
China’s Iranian oil buyers, including state-owned refiner Sinopec and state trader Zhuhai Zhenrong Corp, have shifted their cargoes to vessels owned by NITC since July to keep supplies flowing as the US sanctions have been re-imposed.
Keeping oil in bonded storage gives the shipment owner the option to sell into China or to other buyers in the region.
In early 2014, NIOC leased bonded tanks in Dalian and oil from there was shipped to South Korea and India, Reuters reported.


Turkish, Iranian media outlets exchange blows on Syria

A Syrian woman carrying a child walks by, in the Washukanni Camp for the internally displaced, near the predominantly Kurdish city of Hasakeh in northeastern Syria, on February 17, 2020. (AFP)
Updated 53 min 37 sec ago

Turkish, Iranian media outlets exchange blows on Syria

  • Middle East expert believes Ankara and Tehran are locked in an information war

ANKARA: Turkish and Iranian media outlets are battling as deeply rooted tensions have resurfaced. Turkey’s state-run Anadolu Agency has published an opinion piece that critically discussed tensions with Iran over Syria. It said: “Turkey’s vision of regional development and integration is pitched against Iran’s regional strategy prioritising geopolitical wins.
“Ignoring Ankara’s concerns in the fight against terrorism during Operation Peace Spring, Tehran is now setting its Shiite militias in the field in motion against Turkey, who is actively endeavoring to prevent a humanitarian crisis.”
The analysis piece, titled “Idlib front, Iran’s weakening foreign operation capacity,” was penned by Hadi Khodabandeh Loui, a researcher at the Iran Research Center in Ankara.
Throughout Syria’s civil war, Turkey has backed rebels looking to oust Bashar Assad, while Iran has supported the Assad regime. However, the two countries are collaborating to reach a political solution to the conflict.
An editorial piece that was published in Iran’s hardline newspaper Entekhab compared Turkey’s military moves in Syria to Israel’s bombings of pro-Assad forces. The piece warned Ankara about a potential aggressive reaction from Tehran to both threats.
Israeli warplanes fired missiles at targets near Syria’s capital, Damascus, in early February and they hit Syrian Army and Iran-backed militia positions, reportedly killing 23 people.
Being among the guarantor states of the Astana peace process for Syria, aimed at ending the Syrian conflict, Turkey and Iran have already witnessed the fragility of their relations in October 2019 when Iran criticized Turkey’s moves to establish military posts inside Syria, emphasizing the need to respect the integrity of Syria.
Then, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan quickly accused Iran of betraying the consensus between the two countries following Tehran’s condemnation of Turkey’s operation in northern Syria against the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia.

BACKGROUND

Throughout Syria’s civil war, Turkey has backed rebels looking to oust Bashar Assad, while Iran has supported the Assad regime. However, the two countries are collaborating to reach a political solution to the conflict.

In March 2018, Iran’s Tehran Times defined Turkey’s cross-border military operation against the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia in Afrin as an “invasion.” It splashed with a headline that read: “Turkish troops occupy Syria’s Afrin.”
Over recent weeks, Ankara has voiced criticisms that the Assad regime, Iran-backed militia and Russia have violated the ceasefire in Syria’s rebel-held province of Idlib, with frequent attacks targeting Turkish troops.
Samuel Ramani, a Middle East analyst at the University of Oxford, thinks that Assad’s forces are winning decisively, and Turkey’s ability to resist them is greatly diminished.
“Assad’s forces have consolidated their control over west Aleppo, and are steadily advancing in Idlib. Turkey does not view the Iranian mediation offers in Syria as credible, especially as Iranian media outlets are justifying them by claiming that Turkey broke the terms of the Sochi agreement by harboring extremists. Turkey is insistent that Russia violated Sochi by supporting Assad’s offensive,” he told Arab News.
Regarding the media conflict, Ramani thinks that Turkey and Iran are locked in an information war over Syria, and are both trying to paint the other as an aggressor.
“It’s a way to rally public support in both countries around more confrontational posturing, in the event of a bigger military escalation that actually sees Turkish and Iranian forces in direct combat, not just Assad and Turkish proxies,” he said.