Iran ramps up oil exports as China pulls back on Russian crude

Iran is ramping up oil exports and benefiting from a rise in oil prices as its main buyer, China, pulls back on its purchases of Russian oil due to the war with Ukraine, the Wall Street Journal’s Benoit Faucon reports.

Iran oil exports—which go almost exclusively to China apart from rare deliveries to Syria and Venezuela—rose to 870,000 barrels a day in the first three months of the year, up 30% from an average of 668,000 barrels a day in the full-year 2021, said commodities data provider Kpler. China cut back its purchases of Russian oil by 14% in March, according to data from Chinese customs administration.

Iran’s growing exports illustrate how the invasion of Ukraine is redrawing the world’s energy trade routes, as energy consumers look for alternatives to Russian oil and gas to avoid Western sanctions. The changes are expected to accelerate as more Russian oil comes off the market, with the International Energy Agency predicting that the country’s production will fall by more than a quarter.

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