August 27, 2018 / 8:38 AM / 3 months ago

Sinopec says some refineries would be hit by a halt in Iran crude oil buying

BEIJING (Reuters) - A senior executive at Sinopec, the country’s largest refiner, said on Monday that some of its refineries will be negatively affected if it stops importing Iranian crude, in the first public comment by a senior Chinese oil executive about Washington’s decision to resume sanctions on Iran.

“Some of our downstream refineries were designed for refining Iranian oil,” said Huang Wensheng, vice president of the company formally known as China Petroleum & Chemical Corp. “If we stop imports, the benefits would be affected.”

The comment comes after Reuters reported last week that state oil trader Zhuhai Zhenrong Corp and Sinopec have taken measures to safeguard supplies, activating a clause in long-term supply agreements with National Iranian Oil Corp that allows them to use vessels owned by National Iranian Tanker Co.

Speaking during a news conference the day after Sinopec reported bumper first-half earnings, Huang said that the ongoing trade spat between U.S. and China will have a limited impact on the company’s profits.

Meantime Sinopec expects its crude oil output to remain stable over next three years, after crude oil production declined 1.6 percent in the first half of 2018, Huang said.

Sinopec also sees significant growth in natural gas production, Huang said.

Reporting by Trista Shi in HONG KONG, Meng Meng and Josephine Mason in BEIJING; Editing by Christian Schmollinger and Kenneth Maxwell

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