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China is ready to work for a closer partnership with Russia in the energy sector, Chinese President Xi Jinping was quoted as saying on Tuesday, days before the EU embargo on seaborne imports of Russian crude oil and the G7-EU price cap on Russia’s oil are set to enter into force next week.
“Energy cooperation is an important cornerstone of practical cooperation between China and Russia, and also a positive force for maintaining global energy security,” Chinese news agency Xinhua quoted Xi as saying in a letter to a China-Russia Energy Business Forum.
“Xi also said the Chinese side stands ready to join hands with Russia to push for clean and green energy development, and safeguard international energy security and the stability of industrial and supply chains, thereby making new contributions to the long-term, healthy and sustainable development of the global energy market,” Xinhua reported.
China is now the biggest outlet for Russia’s crude oil after the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the EU bans and embargoes forced Moscow to re-route most of its crude exports to the biggest Asian buyers, China and India.
China’s energy imports from Russia, including coal, oil, and natural gas, have reached $60 billion since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Bloomberg reported earlier this month, up from $35 billion in the same period of 2021.
China has become Russia’s biggest energy client alongside India, with both countries refusing to join the Western sanction push against Moscow and instead opting to continue doing business and forging closer political ties with Russia.
Reports have emerged in recent weeks that some Chinese buyers have become wary of purchasing spot Russian cargoes loading after December 5, waiting for details about the price cap and the potential consequences for buyers.
Still, China has no intention of joining any price cap mechanisms, and it is said to be demanding deep discounts from Russia for its crude.
By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com
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Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com