Russia’s Surprising Rise To The Top Of The Oil World

Russia was China’s largest oil supplier in January-February, surpassing Saudi Arabia, which was China’s top oil supplier last year, according to Chinese customs data cited by Reuters.

As China increases its purchases of cheap Russian oil compared to international benchmarks, China’s crude imports from Russia rose 23.8% to 1.94 million barrels per day (bpd) in January-February 2023, according to the supplier. 

Customs Administration of China 

China reports trade and economic data for January and February together to remove distortions from the week-long Lunar New Year holiday.
In the first two months of the current year, Russia overtook Saudi Arabia among China’s oil suppliers, and Saudi Arabia’s oil imports fell 4.7% to 1.72 million barrels per day, compared with 1.81 million barrels per day in the same period. 2022. 

Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia was China’s largest oil supplier ahead of Russia in 2022, supplying an average of 1.75 million barrels per day.
In recent months, China has bought larger quantities of Russian oil as Moscow has diverted its sales to Asian markets due to Western embargoes and price restrictions on crude oil and refined petroleum products. 4,444 China’s independent refiners, often called “teapots,” import much of Russia’s volume, taking advantage of the deep discounts that Russia offers its oil to its customers.

Despite a slow start to 2023, China’s imports of energy goods are expected to increase thereafter. This year, while oil demand is expected to recover and push global oil consumption to a record high, forecasters (MOMR) said this week as it revised its forecast for China’s oil demand growth.
The International Energy Agency (IEA) reported last week that “Today’s increase in inventories eases tensions as the market turns into a deficit in the second half of the year, a year when China is expected to drive global oil demand to record levels.”

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