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Russia Extends Its Lead As China’s Top Oil Supplier

Russia was ahead of Saudi Arabia in the race to be China’s top crude oil supplier in October, according to official Chinese data reported by Reuters.

Yet, Chinese imports from both Russia and Saudi Arabia declined year over year in October as crude imports in the world’s top oil importer slowed down markedly last month from the previous months.

Chinese crude oil imports in October were 10 million bpd, down by 12.2 percent from September, due to independent refiners using up 2020 import quotas and storage nearing capacity. 

The top two suppliers to China in October, and throughout this year, were the two leaders of the OPEC+ pact, OPEC’s top producer Saudi Arabia, and the leader of the non-OPEC group in the alliance, Russia.

The two countries are once again vying for the top spot among China’s suppliers.

In October, Chinese crude oil imports from Russia averaged 1.56 million bpd, according to data in tons from the General Administration of Customs converted into barrels per day by Reuters. China’s imports from Russia dropped by 4.4 percent last month compared to October 2019.

Chinese oil imports from Saudi Arabia plunged by 29 percent in October 2020, but the Saudis were still the second-largest oil supplier to China, with 1.4 million bpd.

Related: EIA Sees WTI Crude Averaging $44 In 2021

Iraq, Angola, and Brazil completed the top five oil suppliers to China in October, according to the customs data.

In the race for China’s top oil supplier, Russia is currently in the lead, but Saudi Arabia is doing its best to push ahead.

Analytic data cited by Reuters last week showed that Russia exported an average of 1.7 million bpd of crude oil to China during the first 11 months of the year, with Saudi Arabia just a little bit behind, with an average export rate of between 1.6 million bpd and 1.7 million bpd.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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