Saudi Arabia Regains Spot as Top Crude Supplier to China
Saudi Arabia, the world’s biggest Crude Oil exporter, regained its position as China’s top Crude supplier in June, after losing out to Russia in the previous 3 months, customs data showed Thursday.
China imported 4.569-M tonnes of crude from Saudi Arabia in June, or 1.112-M BPD, data from the Chinese customs showed. The amount was down 14.2% Y-Y, but compared with 961,000 BPD in May, according to the data.
Saudi imports edged up 0.24% in 1-H of this year Vs a year ago, to average 1.06-M BPD.
Russian exports to China have climbed on demand from independent refiners since late Y 2015 after the country allowed them to import Crude for the 1st time.
China imported 4.107-M tonnes, or around 999,420 BPD, of Crude in June from Russia, down from a record 1.24-M BPD in May.
For 1-H, imports from Russia rose 35.3% at 26.276-M tonnes, or 1.05-M BPD, just behind Saudi Arabia.
Beijing is pleased with the competition for share’s of China’s Crude Oil market, as the government does not want to be too dependent on any one supplier, so competition between major suppliers is a welcome development, especially if it results in lower prices.
Nicknamed “Teapots” due to their relative smaller scale, the independents contributed to more than 50% of China’s 930,500 BPD incremental Crude Oil purchases during 1-H of Y 2016.
Stockpiling to boost government reserves was another driver for imports, as new tanks became available including this month.
A new tank farm in Hainan province, a 17.6-M-barrel site owned by privately-run CEFC China Energy, received its 1st shipment early in July.
Imports from Iran rose 16.1% in June over a year earlier to 780,175 BPD, up from 671,176 BPD in May. Imports for the January-June frame gained 2.5 frame.
Shipments have held relatively steady as Tehran has been focusing on recouping lost markets in Europe after sanctions were lifted, Iranian Oil sources say.
Sharp gains in Chinese imports also came from smaller OPEC producer Kuwait as well as Venezuela. Kuwait supplied 45% more in June at 1.336-M tonnes, or 325,100 BPD.
Supplies from Venezuela shot up 88% in June and for 1-H went up 35.5% at 9.936-M tonnes, or 398,500 BPD.
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