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Russia topped the list of Chinese exporters of crude oil in December, strengthening its position throughout 2018 for the third consecutive year before Saudi Arabia, customs data reported on Friday.
According to the Customs Administration, the volume of Chinese imports from Russia reached 7.04 million tonnes or 1.665 million barrels per day in December. This is 40% more than last year's 5.03 million tons.
For the whole year, imports from Russia rose to 71.49 million tonnes, or 1.43 million barrels per day, which is 19.7% more than 59.7 million tonnes in 2017. Demand for Russian crude oil received support from increased production of Chinese refineries, such as the Espoo, while geopolitical cracks have forced China to import smaller quantities from countries like Iran and Venezuela. Russian giant Rosneft also actively participates in SPO marketing and has signed new long-term supply agreements with state oil companies such as KimChina, PetroChain,
Saudi Arabia exported 6.97 million tonnes in China in December, or 1.64 million barrels per day, which is 48% from 4.71 million tonnes a year earlier.
In 2018, the Kingdom increased its sales to China by 8.7% to 56.73 million tonnes, equivalent to 1.135 million barrels per day.
This means that Russia surpasses Saudi Arabia in the export of crude oil to China, almost doubling to 295,000 bp. in 2018, compared with 150 000 gross grant equivalents.
US supplies to China affected by a trade war between the two countries were zero in December. Imports in 2018 grew by 24.8% compared to 245.616 barrels per day in 2017
Chinese UNIPEC plans to resume US oil supplies to China by March. Venezuela's shipments to China have fallen by 24% in 2018 to 16.63 million tonnes, or 332,600 barrels per day.
China's imports from Iran dropped 12 percent annually in December to 2.14 million tonnes, or 503,896 barrels per day. Annual imports from Iran dropped 20% from 2017 to 29.274 million tonnes, or 585.475 barrels a day after the US sanctions against Tehran for its nuclear program.