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Imports of Iranian crude and condensate slumped to their lowest levels in six months in June as China scaled back purchases. But volumes remain well above ‘limits’ set out by world powers under last November’s nuclear deal.
The fall indicated by the most recent Chinese import statistics follows two months of bumper buying from the Islamic Republic.
Rather than setting out an absolute export limit for Iran, the November 2013 nuclear deal – dubbed the Joint Plan of Action (JPA) – put the onus on Iran’s customers to maintain imports at then “current levels.” This was interpreted as meaning a total of around 1mn b/d, a level US officials have regularly cited as their approximate marker. This is also in line with MEES’ 994,000 b/d estimate of average intakes of Iranian oil for the six months leading up to the deal.
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