Russia became the largest supplier of oil to China in the period from January to February, displacing Saudi Arabia to the second place in terms of supplies. Russian oil imports to China grew by 23.8% over the two months. This was reported Reuters with reference to Chinese customs data.
According to customs data, in January-February of this year, Russia delivered 15.68 million tons of oil to China, or 1.94 million barrels per day, which is 23.8% more than in the same period in 2022. Oil imports from Saudi Arabia, which was the largest supplier to China in 2022, amounted to 13.92 million tons, or 1.72 million barrels per day, over the two-month period.
The agency notes that Western sanctions and price restrictions on oil from Russia have led to the fact that the fuel began to be traded at a large discount. Among the main beneficiaries of the price cuts, according to Reuters, were private Chinese oil refineries in the eastern province of Shandong. In January, Russian ESPO oil for delivery in February was purchased at a discount of $8 compared to the benchmark of the European ICE exchange Brent oil.
From December 5, the oil price ceiling at $60 per barrel came into force, from February 5 – for oil products from Russia at $100 and $45 per barrel (for products that are traded at a premium and a discount to oil, respectively). After the entry into force of the price ceiling for offshore oil supplies, most of the Russian resource, which is subject to the embargo, was redirected to China and India.
According to Bloomberg, in 2023, China can increase its imports of Russian oil by 500,000 barrels, up to 2.2 million barrels per day. And if supplies of Urals oil increase, then the figures could rise to 2.5 million barrels per day.
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