China could surpass top supplier Saudi Arabia with record-breaking oil imports from Russia


Singapore — China’s crude oil imports from Russia surged 55% year-on-year in May, replacing Saudi Arabia with a top supplier. This is because refiners used discounted supplies in sanctions against Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

According to data from the General Administration of Customs of China, Russia’s oil imports, including supply pumped through the Eastern Siberia-Pacific pipeline and sea transport from Russia’s European and Far East ports, totaled approximately 8.42 million tons.

That’s about 1.98 million barrels (bpd) per day, a quarter increase from 1.59 million barrels per day in April.

Data showing Russia’s regaining the top ranks of its suppliers to the world’s largest oil importers after a 19-month gap, despite Western sanctions, despite Moscow having to cut prices It shows that you can find a buyer for that oil.

China’s overall oil demand is constrained by COVID-19 restraints and economic slowdown, but major importers, including refinery giant Sinopec and trader Genfa Oil, have been licensed from Iran and Venezuela. In addition to supply, we are stepping up the purchase of cheaper Russian oil. They are to reduce competing supplies from West Africa and Brazil.

Saudi Arabia lags behind as the second largest supplier, with May production up 9% year-on-year to 7.82 million tonnes, or 1.84 million barrels per day. This was down from 2.17 million barrels / day in April.

Customs data released on Monday also show that China imported 260,000 tons of Iranian crude last month, the third shipment of Iranian oil since December last year, supporting previous Reuters reports. There is.

Despite US sanctions on Iran, China continues to take Iran’s oil, usually delivered as a supply from other countries. The import level is equivalent to about 7% of China’s total crude oil imports.

China’s overall crude oil imports increased by nearly 12% from the previous year’s lows to 10.8 million barrels / day in May, while the 2021 average was 10.3 million barrels / day.

Customs reported zero imports from Venezuela. State-owned oil companies have been avoiding purchases since late 2019 for fear of fouling US secondary sanctions.

Imports from Malaysia have been frequently used as oil transfer points from Iran and Venezuela over the past two years and have been stable compared to April but more than doubled from the previous year to 2.2 million tons.

Imports from Brazil fell 19% year-on-year to 2.2 million tonnes as supply from Latin American exporters faced cheaper competition between Iran and Russian barrels.

Separately, data show that China’s Russian liquefied natural gas (LNG) imports last month reached nearly 400,000 tons, 56% higher than in May 2021.

Russia’s LNG imports (mainly the Sakhalin 2 project in the Far East and Yamal LNG in Russia’s Arctic) increased 22% year-on-year to 1.84 million tons during the first five months, according to customs data.

Below is a detailed breakdown of millions of tonnes of oil imports.

Month y / y pct ytd y / r pct

Change change

Saudi 7.828.738.22 4.5

Russia 8.425534.02 2.5


Iraq 4.6874.523.54 4.1

Angola 3.148-3.614.84 8.7

Brazil 2.209-1910.99 -5.9


United 0.516-523.784 -44


Malaysia 2.21128.42 36

Iran 0.26—0.52—

Venezuela 0—0—

Oman 3.977-418.96 -0.8

United Arab Emirates 4.0968.716.31 30

(Ton = 7.3 barrels in terms of crude oil)

By Chen Aizhu