Russia was China’s largest crude oil supplier in March, data showed on Tuesday, retaining the lead spot for a 13th consecutive month.
Last month, Russia supplied 5.79 million tons, equal to 1.36 million barrels per day (bpd), up 23.6 percent from the same month a year earlier, data from the General Administration of Customs showed.
Russia has been the biggest oil exporter to China since March 2017.
For the first quarter, Russian shipments rose 22 percent from a year earlier to 16.51 million tons, or 1.34 million bpd.
Saudi Arabia, China’s second-biggest supplier in March, also ramped up its exports, the data showed.
Shipments last month were 4.6 million tons, or 1.09 million bpd, up 1.2 percent from a year ago, but down from 1.2 million bpd in February.
The kingdom is expected to catch up in volume later this year as private Chinese chemical producer Hengli Group will start trial runs in October at a greenfield refinery in Northeast China. The plant can process up to 400,000 bpd and is geared to use Saudi oil.
China’s total crude oil imports in March rose to the second-highest on record at 9.2 million bpd, boosted by ample government quotas and healthy refining margins. At the same time, the country exported a record amount of refined fuel to ease a domestic surplus.
March crude oil arrivals from Angola, China’s third-biggest supplier, fell 12.5 percent from a year ago to 4.08 million tons, or 961,810 bpd. Supplies for the first quarter fell 2.9 percent to about 1 million bpd, the data showed.
Overall, the country imported 112.1 million tons of crude during the first three months, or about 9.1 million bpd.
The hefty first quarter purchases caused a backlog of cargoes off the coast of East China in late March. Imports next month may slow as Chinese refineries enter the peak maintenance season starting from April.
The US shipped 973,758 tons of crude oil in March, with first quarter volumes amounting to 3.9 million tons, or 315,475 bpd.
Posted in: ECONOMY