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Russia surpasses Saudi Arabia as China’s top supplier of crude

Russia surpasses Saudi Arabia as China’s top supplier of crude
China’s imports of Russian oil have risen 18 percent in April year-on-year, according to Reuters, citing Chinese customs data. Shipments reached 7.2 million tons, equivalent to 1.75 million barrels per day (bpd).

To compare, 1.49 million bpd was delivered by Russia in April 2019 and 1.66 million bpd this March. Statistics showed that Russia overtook Saudi Arabia, as supplies from the kingdom dropped to 1.26 million bpd, down from 1.53 million bpd in April 2019 and 1.7 million bpd in March. 

China’s total crude oil imports in April amounted to 9.84 million bpd, up from 9.68 million bpd in March, but well below 10.64 million bpd in April last year. Still, imports during the first four months of the year were up 1.7 percent on a year earlier. 

Also on rt.com A huge fleet of 117 tankers is bringing super cheap crude to China

According to analyst estimates, average utilization rates at independent refineries (the so-called ‘teapots’) grew to nearly 70 percent in late April, compared to their pre-pandemic level. State-backed refiners will not climb back to their normal level until May, analysts say.

Refinitiv’s oil research team projects China’s May imports to hit an all-time high of 53.7 million tons, or 12.7 million bpd, with record volumes from OPEC producers. This month, for the first time since November, Chinese refiners will also receive their first crude cargo from the US. The shipment was booked in March, when oil prices started crashing.

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