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While the debate about the effectiveness of the Western-led sanctions on Russians continues, China’s imports of Urals-grade Russian crude oil could hit an 11-month high, Reuters said on Monday.
China, so far in April, has purchased 265,000 barrels per day of Russian Urals grade crude oil. This is a 36% increase—or an increase of 70,000 barrels per day from China’s March loadings for the Russian grade oil.
April-loaded Urals should arrive in China sometime in May and early June, Reuters said.
China also purchases other Russian crude oil grades, such as ESPO Blend and Arctic grades. Combined, China imported a record level of Russian crude oil last month as low prices proved tempting. For April, however, the price of Urals has increased due to increased competition for the Russian grade thanks in part to the OPEC+ announcement that it would make additional crude oil production cuts through the end of this year, and is now reportedly higher than the price cap laid out by the West.
The $60 price cap on Russian crude oil went into effect on December 6. Purchasers are able to access EU and G7 insurance and financing for Russian crude cargoes only if the buyer paid less than $60 for it. In March, Russian Urals Oil averaged $47.85 per barrel.
China and India have been the largest purchasers of Russian crude oil in recent months, with India accounting for more than 70% of the Urals shipments so far this month, with China receiving 20% of them. Neither China nor India joined the Price Cap Coalition.
Russia was the largest crude oil supplier to China in January and February this year as Asia sought to capitalize on cheap Russian crude.
By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com
Julianne Geiger is a veteran editor, writer and researcher for Oilprice.com, and a member of the Creative Professionals Networking Group.