By February 24, 2017 Read More →

Saudi regains top oil supplier spot to China in January


Saudi Arabia’s crude oil exports to China rebounded sharply in January after a big decline in December. 

Saudi shipments up 19 per cent on year to 1.18 million b/d

By Chen Aizhu

BEIJING, Feb 24 (Reuters) – Saudi Arabia regained its spot as top crude oil supplier to China in January, rebounding sharply after a big fall in the previous month, data from the Chinese General Administration of Customs showed on Friday. Shipments from Saudi Arabia rose 18.9 per cent from a year ago to 5.03 million tonnes, or 1.18 million barrels per day (b/d). That was 40 per cent higher compared to the 841,820 b/d level the kingdom supplied in December.

Angola stood second with shipments up 63.5 per cent from a year ago to 4.95 million tonnes, or 1.17 million b/d, while Russia came in third with volumes up 36.5 per cent from a year ago to 4.6 million tonnes, or 1.08 million b/d, the data showed.

Russia overtook Saudi Arabia as China’s largest crude oil supplier on an annual basis for the first time in 2016, with average daily volumes at 1.05 million b/d. Saudi Arabia stood a close second with average daily supply at 1.02 million b/d.

“Aramco has been trying hard to defend its market share, especially by working closely with the state refiners, its dominant clients,” said a Beijing-based oil official familiar with Saudi Aramco’s marketing programme to China.

Saudi Aramco has lined up a deal to supply North Huajin Chemical Industries Group Corp its Arab Extra Light grade in 2017, and is also set to raise supplies to state-run China National Offshore Oil Corp, or CNOOC, later this year.

China, the world’s second-largest crude oil buyer after the United States, last month raised total imports by 27.5 per cent from a year earlier to the third-highest volume ever on a daily basis at 8.01 million b/d.

Chinese independent, or teapot, refiners were starting to bring in rare cargoes of North American heavy crude in a long-haul flow that traders say has been made possible only by OPEC’s output cuts and ample U.S. and Canadian supplies.

Customs data showed China brought in about 258,000 tonnes of crude oil from the United States last month, a volume equal to more than half of China’s total U.S. imports for all of 2016.

Data also showed China’s imports from Venezuela shot up 80 per cent last month year-on-year to 1.75 million tonnes, while imports from Iran slipped 1.3 per cent on year to 1.71 million tonnes.

Imports from Iraq grew 43 per cent on year to around 3.51 million tonnes.

(Reporting by Chen Aizhu; Editing by Tom Hogue)

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