Russia tightens oil grip as top crude supplier to China

Russia tightens oil grip as top crude supplier to China
Russia has shipped over five million tons of crude oil or 1.32 million barrels per day (bpd) to China in one month. Statistics show it is the largest crude oil supplier to China for the past two years on an annual basis.

According to the Chinese General Administration of Customs, February’s delivery was up by 17.8 percent from a year earlier.

Saudi Arabia regained its second spot after losing out to Angola in January. Data showed that last month’s supplies came in at 4.635 million tons (1.21 million bpd), down 2.9 percent on year but up from 1.01 million bpd in January.

The third-ranking Angola delivered 973,800 bpd, up 14.7 percent versus a year earlier. Shipments from Brazil have seen the fastest growth among major suppliers. They reached 2.4 million tons or about 626,160 bpd, which is a 54 percent increase on last year.

Imports from the US were 909,117 tons (237,020 bpd) last month, down from 472,500 bpd in January.

Exports of Russian oil to China have more than doubled over the past six years, up by more than 550,000 barrels per day. They gained 21 percent for the January-February period compared with a year earlier, according to data. This was partly due to a second East Siberia-Pacific Ocean (ESPO) pipeline which started commercial operation in January.

In 2011, Russia began supplying China with crude through the Skovorodino-Mohe branch of the ESPO pipeline. That followed Rosneft, Transneft, and China National Petroleum Corporation’s (CNPC) signing agreements.

Rosneft and CNPC inked a 25-year oil deal in 2014 worth $270 billion under which the Russian company is expected to supply 360.3 million tons of crude to China. Since then Russia has overtaken Saudi Arabia to become China’s biggest crude supplier.

Last year, Rosneft agreed crude oil deliveries with China’s CEFC Energy. According to the agreement, the Russian oil major will supply CEFC with 60.8 million tons of oil annually until 2023.

Experts say Chinese imports of Russian oil are likely to stay high over the coming years due to long-term crude supply contracts and rising demand from the world’s biggest oil consumer.

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