News ID: 269430
Published: 0533 GMT May 26, 2020

Russia leapfrogs Saudi Arabia as China's top crude oil supplier in April

Russia leapfrogs Saudi Arabia as China's top crude oil supplier in April
An employee holds a sample of crude oil at the Irkutsk Oil Co-owned Yarakta field in the Irkutsk region, Russia. (REUTERS)

Russia overtook Saudi Arabia as China's top crude oil supplier in April, customs data showed, with imports rising 18 percent from the same month a year earlier as refiners snapped up cheap raw materials amid a price war between the two producers.


Russian shipments reached 7.2 million tons last month, equivalent to 1.75 million barrels per day (bpd), according to data from the General Administration of Customs released on Tuesday, reported.

That compares with 1.49 million bpd in April 2019 and 1.66 million bpd in March.

Supplies from Saudi Arabia fell 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 came in at 9.84 million bpd, up from 9.68 million bpd in March, but well below 10.64 million bpd in April last year, according to data released earlier this month.

Still, imports during the first four months of the year were up 1.7 percent on a year earlier as Chinese oil refineries take advantage of slumping oil prices.

Analysts have estimated that average utilization rates at independent refineries, known as "teapots", rose to nearly 70 percent in late April — their level before the virus outbreak — but that state-backed refiners will not climb back to their normal level until May.

Refinitiv's oil research team expects 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.

Chinese refiners are also receiving their first crude cargo from the United States in May since November, a shipment booked in March when oil prices started to collapse.

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