Oil major and trader Unipec — a subsidiary of oil major Sinopec — has lost a $20.76m arbitration and a fight to break its lease with US Virgin Islands-based terminal Limetree Bay Terminals.

The fight was over the alleged quality of the tanks where the Chinese state-owned player stores and transships vast quantities of US crude, with allegations of contamination of crude from one aframax in 2020 and a series of recent “near misses” on other ships.

In their 55-page 14 September decision, a panel of New York arbitrators found the terminal had not breached the agreement and Unipec could not terminate it and was not justified in withholding fees.