China’s has ramped up its oil imports from Russia 22 per cent year-on-year, with only Saudi Arabia now providing the world’s second largest country with more supplies.
Oil supplies from Russia, totalled 7.46m tonnes, according to data from the Chinese General Administration of Customs.
This includes oil pumped via the East Siberia Pacific Ocean pipeline and seaborne shipments from Russia’s European and Far Eastern ports.
China’s position on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has been ambiguous, however it has seen lower priced oil, hit by sanctions from the West, as an opportunity to meet its energy needs.
Nevertheless, imports were down amid economic pressures and reduced demand, with the country pursuing an aggressive Zero Covid policy.
Its September imports were the equivalent to 1.82m barrels per day (bpd), eased from 1.96m bpd in August, and was also down on the record high of nearly 2m bpd in May.
Meanwhile, imports from top supplier Saudi Arabia also dipped to 1.83m bpd, versus August’s 1.99m bpd and were 5.4 per cent lower than a year earlier.
The bumper Russian purchases, against a two per cent year-on-year decline in China’s total crude oil imports, has also continued to squeeze out competing supplies from top West African exporter and OPEC+ member Angola.
Volumes of supplies from the African supplier have nosedived 36 per cent year-on-year according to the data.
It is unclear how China’s consumption trends will evolve following OPEC+’s 2m barrel cut to daily oil output, but Russia’s lower prices will ensure their resources remain attractive.
The EU, UK and US have imposed restrictions on Russian oil, with imports expected to be phased out by the end of the year.
The West is currently weighing up proposals to cap gas prices to slash Russian war revenues – which has been backed by the G7 and is being debated by the EU.