Iran and China divided over oil payment terms

Iran Materials 6 January 2012 15:37 (UTC +04:00)

Azerbaijan, Baku, Jan. 6 / Trend F.Milad/

Chinese buyers of Iranian crude are divided over payment terms with Iran and negotiations are underway between the two sides to settle the issue, National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) director for international affairs said.

Speaking to the Mehr news agency, Mohsen Qamsari rejected some news published in the western media that China has made a request for cutting crude imports from Iran, adding that some 500,000 barrels of crude is exported daily to the Asian country.

China will reduce crude imports from Iran for a second month, sources said on Thursday, as the two remain divided over payment terms for Iranian crude targeted by ever tougher international sanctions, according to Reuters.

China, which buys around 10 per cent of Iran's crude exports, cut its January purchases by about 285,000 barrels per day, just over half of the total average daily amount it imported in 2011.

Iran is the second-biggest oil producer in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries. Its estimated oil output is about 3.6 million barrels a day.

China spent $15.85 billion buying oil from Iran in the first nine months of 2011, up 84.5 percent year-on-year. Oil imports from Saudi Arabia increased just 19.7 per cent, while those from Angola rose 0.28 percent, Chinese customs data shows.