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Sinopec, CNPC To Skip Iran Oil Bookings for Nov as U.S. Sanctions Near

CHINA -- The Vladimir Rusanov, a liquefied natural gas (LNG) tanker ship, is seen following its arrival at the LNG terminal in Nantong city, eastern China's Jiangsu province, July 19, 2018
BEIJING, Oct 24 (Reuters)

Sinopec Group and China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC), the country's top state-owned refiners, have not made any nominations to load Iranian oil for November because of concerns they would be violating U.S. sanctions, said two persons with direct knowledge of the matter.

Washington is set to re-impose sanctions on oil exports from Iran on Nov. 4 to force a renegotiation of pact on its nuclear programme. Iran is the third-largest producer in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and China is the biggest buyer of its oil.

Sinopec and CNPC are skipping bookings for November because it is unclear if Chinese buyers could win waivers from the sanctions, said the persons, who declined to be named due to the sensitive nature of the matter.

"With no clarity over waiver, no company will risk taking any barrels for November," said one person, a senior industry official with a state oil company, "The risk is a lot greater than the amount of oil cut."

Sinopec declined to comment. CNPC also declined to comment.

The National Iranian Oil Co did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.

(Reporting by Chen Aizhu; additional reporting by Rania El Gamal in Dubai and Florence Tan in Singapore; Editing by Christian Schmollinger)