Saudi Arabia’s crude oil exports en route to China in December were 20 percent lower compared to November, which would be the lowest level of Saudi crude sales to China in 2017, early Bloomberg tanker tracking data showed on Wednesday.
According to the tanker tracking figures, less than 3.5 million tons of crude oil, or 25.6 million barrels of oil, left Saudi Arabia en route to Chinese ports in December.
The route takes around 20 days to complete, and China will publish its December country-by-country crude oil imports data around January 22, which would confirm whether the Saudis had in fact drastically cut crude shipments to China last month.
For December, the Saudis had cut total crude oil exports by 120,000 bpd from just above 7 million bpd in November, reducing shipments to all regions, including a 10-percent reduction of oil exports to the U.S.
Saudi Arabia will cut crude oil exports to Asia by more than 100,000 bpd in January compared to December, while keeping its shipments to Europe and the U.S. at the December levels, the Saudi Energy Ministry said at the beginning of December.
China, on the other hand, boosted its crude oil imports in November 2017 to 9.01 million bpd—the second highest on record, according to data provided by China’s General Administration of Customs. Related: Is ISIS About To Attack Libyan Oil?
In the detailed country-by-country import data, China said last week that Russia held onto its no.1 spot as the biggest crude oil supplier for a ninth month running, with Saudi Arabia second.
China’s crude oil imports from Russia rose by 11 percent on the year in November, to 1.26 million bpd, while second-placed Saudi Arabia saw its crude oil sales down 7.8 percent annually to 1.056 million bpd.
Russia was also the biggest oil supplier to China between January and November, with sales rising 15.5 percent on the year to 1.2 million bpd, and overtaking Saudi Arabia by 159,000 bpd.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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However, Saudi oil exports to China could drop further if Saudi Arabia refuses to accept the Chinese yuan (petro-yuan) for its crude oil exports.
China hopes to launch in early 2018 a crude oil futures contract on the Shanghai Energy Exchange (INE) denominated in petro-yuan.
China is now trying to persuade Saudi Arabia to start accepting the yuan for its crude oil. If Riyadh wants to avoid losing more oil market share in the Chinese market, it may have to agree to petro-yuan sales. However, Saudi Arabia will find itself with difficult choices: lose the Chinese oil market or spark the anger of Washington.
Dr Mamdouh G Salameh
International Oil Economist
Visiting Professor of Energy Economics at ESP Europe Business School, London
I could not agree more with you. What you have mentioned is spot on and 100% accurate.
Once Saudi agrees to accept yuan for oil, that will be the reason of turmoil in the western world and it's largest currency USD.
This week Pakistan has agreed to conduct it's entire USD 20bn approx trade with China in USD which is why Trump is tweeting so furiously against Pakistan. What Trump knows is that a large Chinese army continent remains inside Pakistan plus Russia is supporting Pakistan too with the S400 anti missile system.
Thanks to the 2,000 people arrested in Saudi, Trump has promised to take price of oil higher which it is going for the first time in 3.5 years above USD 60, provided missiles and security to Saudi for another few months (max a year) and will wait for Aramco to list in NY (if it lists at all).
Otherwise, Saudi will be forced to accept the yuan anyways (because their reserves are plunging and is surrounded by war in all neighbouring countries) but Trump has caused a bit of a delay to this USD upheaval.
Global trade is moving to yuan rapidly with Venezuela, Russia (which also opened the first ever Central Bank office of Russia) inside China, Nigeria, Iran and now Pakistan executing global trade in yuan while dozens of countries can do clearing in yuan and hold yuan in FX reserves including UK.
Slow and steady China rolls on.
I appreciate your well written article and all the information that it provided. Amazing! Keep up the good work!