SINGAPORE/BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s imports of Russian oil increased 8.6 percent in April from a year ago, as larger private refiners started buying discounted oil.
Total imports from Russia, including shipments carried by sea and supplies by pipeline, were 7.1 million tonnes, or 1.73 million barrels per day, according to customs data released on Saturday.
Big private refiners have joined smaller independent refiners in the rush for cheap Russian oil, whether East Siberian-Pacific blend loaded from Russia’s Far East or Urals shipped through European ports.
However, imports from Russia in April were much lower than the 2.26 million bpd recorded in March, which was an unprecedented level. China’s total imports of crude oil last month fell 16 percent from March.
The data showed that the total imports of Saudi oil, which is mostly consumed by state refiners and giant private companies, amounted to 8.46 million tons, or 2.06 million barrels per day, down slightly from 2.1 million barrels per day in March and compared to 2.17 million barrels per day in April last year. .-
China’s imports of Russian oil rose since the beginning of the year so far by 26.5 percent to 32.4 million tons, surpassing imports that came in second place, which increased by 2.9 percent to 31.28 million tons.-
Imports from Malaysia remained high at 4.09 million tons, not much from 4.56 million tons in March, but much higher than 2.165 million tons in April 2022.
In order to circumvent US sanctions, dealers have resorted in the past three years to renaming Iranian and Venezuelan oil as originating from Malaysia, Oman or the United Arab Emirates.
China did not record any imports from Iran or Venezuela.
(tonne = 7.3 barrels of crude oil)
(Prepared by Amira Zahran for the Arabic Bulletin – Edited by Mahmoud Salama)