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News > Russia

Russia Tops Saudi Arabia in Crude Oil Exports to China

  • Russia becomes China's largest oil supplier, displacing Saudi Arabia to second place. Jun. 20, 2022.

    Russia becomes China's largest oil supplier, displacing Saudi Arabia to second place. Jun. 20, 2022. | Photo: Twitter/@nertilqatja

Published 20 June 2022

In May, Russia became China's largest oil supplier, with exports up 55 percent over last year, data from the Chinese General Administration of Customs showed.

This growth in Russian oil exports to China came after Moscow brought in steep discounts as its traditional buyers began rejecting exports over sanctions related to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. 

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It is reported that last month's Russian oil imports to China totaled close to 8.42 million tons, accounting for 1.98 million barrels per day.

Russia overtook Saudi Arabia to become China's number one oil supplier, as its exports increased by 25 percent from April. 
Compared to April's 2.17 million barrels per day, China cut its Saudi oil imports to 7.82 million tons, which is 1.84 million barrels per day.

Even with the continued fall in demand due to the COVID-19 pandemic, China's total oil imports increased by almost 12 percent in May on a year-on-year basis to 10.8 million barrels per day. 

In the wake of Russia's special military operation in Ukraine on February 24, the U.S., the EU and their allies have imposed a series of restrictive sanctions against the Russian oil and gas industry.

The latest package of sanctions on Russia adopted by the EU in early June bans the purchase of Russian oil. It prohibits "insuring and reinsuring the maritime transport of such goods [oil and oil products] to third countries."

But China and India have been drawn in by Moscow's discounts. Both nations have increased their Russian oil imports in the last two months. As RBC reports, the average discount on Russia's Ural crude was around 20 percent in March and 33 percent in April. 

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