TEHRAN (ISNA)- The latest market figures have revealed a major leap in China’s imports of crude oil from Iran over the past month. Figures reported by Reuters show that China imported 2.02 million tons of Iranian oil in November or 491,100 barrels per day (bpd).

The figure marks an increase of 45.2 percent from the month before, but down 5.1 percent on an annual basis, according to data from the China’s General Administration of Customs.

That was higher than an estimate of 444,100 bpd from Thomson Reuters Oil Research & Forecasts for China’s Iranian crude imports in November. The research group expects imports from Iran to come in at 533,400 bpd in December.

For the first 11 months of the year, China brought in close to 24.4 million tons of Iranian crude oil, or about 532,400 bpd, down 2.1 percent from the same period a year ago, the customs data showed.

The year-to-date volume is lower than a contracted amount of just over 600,000 bpd, mainly due to the fact that independent petrochemical producer Dragon Aromatics – a regular buyer of Iranian condensate – has been shut since a fire in April.

China’s customs administration counts light oil condensates as crude oil.

Iran, once the second-largest producer in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) after Saudi Arabia, hopes to raise its crude exports by as much as 1 million bpd within months of sanctions aimed at its nuclear programs being lifted.

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