Russia is China’s top oil supplier for third straight month

Aug 21, 2022 | BUSINESS

Chinese refineries keep scarfing up Russia’s discounted crude while cutting shipments from rival suppliers

Russia remained the top supplier of crude oil to energy-hungry China in July, according to the latest data published by the Chinese customs service. 

The statistics showed that imports of Russian oil in July amounted to 7.15 million tons, marking a 7.6% surge year-over-year. However, the figure, which amounts to some 1.68 million barrels a day (bpd), were below May’s record of nearly 2 million bpd. Russian deliveries to China come via the East Siberia Pacific Ocean pipeline and by seaborne shipments.  

China has been steadily ramping up its energy imports from Russia, while Western buyers have shunned cargoes from the sanction-hit country in an attempt to dent its revenues. But efforts to cut one of the world’s largest oil producers out of global energy markets have sent global crude prices soaring and prompted Russia to turn to Asian buyers. As a result, China is now Russia’s largest oil purchaser.

China’s second biggest oil supplier, Saudi Arabia, shipped 6.56 million tons, or 1.54 million bpd in July, marking a rebound from the previous month, although this is still slightly below the level posted last July.  

READ MORE: Russian coal exports to China smash five-year high

The strong purchases of discounted Russian crude have squeezed out competing supplies from Angola and Brazil, which dropped 27% and 58% year-on-year, respectively.  

Meanwhile, although the customs data showed no oil shipments to China from Venezuela or Iran last month, purchases from Malaysia, which is commonly used as a transfer point for oil originating from those two countries, soared 183% on the year, to 3.34 million tons. This is up from 2.65 million tons recorded in June.

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