China's imports of Russian oil rise ahead of the implementation of European sanctions

20 November, 2022
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China's imports of Russian oil rise ahead of the implementation of European sanctions

Chinese oil imports from Russia jumped 16% year-on-year in October, making it second only to Saudi Arabia, Beijing's biggest supplier, as state companies fill warehouses ahead of the European embargo on Russian oil.


Data from China's General Administration of Customs showed on Sunday that supplies from Russia, including oil pumped through the East Siberian Pipeline into the Pacific Ocean and cargo transported by sea from Russia's European and Far Eastern ports, totaled 7.72 million tons.


The volumes, equivalent to 1.82 million bpd, were little changed from imports in September, but they were down from the record high of about 2 million bpd recorded in May.


Chinese state-run companies, including Unipec, China Oil and Zhenhua Oil, have ramped up imports of Russian Urals crude, which is mostly loaded from European ports, in the past weeks ahead of imminent EU sanctions and amid uncertainty over the Group of Seven's plan to put Russian oil price cap.


Saudi shipments increased 12% year-on-year to 7.93 million tons, or 1.87 million barrels per day, compared to 1.83 million barrels per day in September.


And from the beginning of the year, Saudi Arabia remained the largest supplier to China, with quantities amounting to 73.76 million tons, without change on an annual basis. Russian supplies increased from January to October 9.5% year-on-year to 71.97 million tons, supported by the continued demand from refineries for lower-priced oil.


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