China’s state-owned refiners continue to buy Russian oil under existing contracts, but refuse to enter into new ones. Even significant discounts offered by suppliers do not help, reports Reuters.

Six sources of the agency claim that such caution is connected with the position of Beijing, which draws attention to the strengthening of Western sanctions against Russia related to the actions of the Russian Armed Forces on the territory of Ukraine.

Thus, the state-owned Sinopec, Asia’s largest oil refiner, did not conclude a single contract for the supply of Russian oil in May. His example was followed by other market participants – CNOOC, PetroChina and Sinochem.

As the interlocutors noted on condition of anonymity, the Chinese do not want to look like those who support Moscow in the conflict with Kiev, and the purchase of oil would allow talking about it. Beijing officially denounces Western sanctions against Russia, but the need for negotiations remains central to its rhetoric. China is the largest buyer of Russian oil. Half of it is supplied through pipelines under long-term contracts, and the other half goes by sea.

Problems with the sale of oil may be the reason why the Central Dispatching Office (CDU TEK) has not yet published data on oil production and exports for March and the first quarter of the year, although it previously did this on April 2. It is possible that the statistics is delayed due to a significant decline in oil production.

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