BEIJING - China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Tuesday it has lodged representations with the United States over its decision to end waivers on sanctions on Iranian oil imports.
China is Iran's largest crude oil customer, with total imports last year of 29.27 million tonnes, or about 585,400 barrels a day, roughly 6 percent of China's total oil imports, according to customs data.
"The decision from the U.S. will contribute to volatility in the Middle East and in the international energy market," Geng Shuang, a ministry spokesman, told a news briefing.
Washington has announced that all Iran sanction waivers will end by May, causing crude oil prices to rise and pressuring importers to cut their Iranian imports to zero.
China was one of eight global buyers that won exemptions to import crude oil last November.
Some of China's key refineries are configured to process the Iranian crude and refinery officials say Iranian oil typically yields better margins compared similar grades from rival suppliers such as Saudi Arabia.
State-owned Sinopec Group and China National Petroleum Corp both produce oil in Iran, having spent billions of dollars on oil fields such as Yadavaran and North Azadegan. They have been sending the oil from the fields to China.