Deliveries of Russian crude to China have seen a significant surge of 25% in the first eight months of this year, according to data released by the Chinese General Administration of Customs. The oil shipments reached a total of 71.2 million tons between January and August, as China took advantage of discounts and accelerated its stockpiling of Russian crude. However, the value of oil imports from Russia to China witnessed a slight decline of 4.1% compared to the same period last year, standing at $38.1 billion.
This surge in crude oil exports from Russia has propelled Moscow to once again become China’s top oil supplier, surpassing Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia exported 60.1 million tons worth $36.49 billion during the reported period, while Iraq ranked third with 40.3 million tons worth $23.04 billion.
In August alone, crude exports to China experienced a significant increase of 30.7% compared to July, with a 42.7% rise in terms of value, amounting to $5.8 billion.
This increase in oil imports from Russia by China is part of a larger trend. In 2022, China’s purchases of Russian oil rose by 8.2% to 86.2 million tons. The cost of crude imported from Russia also saw a substantial increase of about 43.9%, reaching $58.37 billion.
China’s inclination towards purchasing more Russian oil can be attributed to the fact that traditional Western buyers have avoided it due to Ukraine-related sanctions. Following the G7 embargo and price cap on Russian oil last year, Moscow has actively redirected its oil flows to Asia, thereby strengthening its position as a major oil supplier to the region.
As China continues to diversify its sources of oil imports, it is expected that the demand for Russian crude will remain strong. This trend also aligns with China’s broader energy security strategy, which prioritizes establishing multiple reliable sources of energy, especially as China aims to reduce its dependence on Middle Eastern oil.
The surge in oil exports from Russia to China signifies the deepening economic ties between the two nations. As Russia solidifies its position as China’s top oil supplier, it opens up opportunities for further collaboration in the energy sector and enhances bilateral trade relations.
In conclusion, the data released by the Chinese General Administration of Customs highlights the significant increase in crude oil shipments from Russia to China. This surge in oil exports underscores Russia’s dominant position as China’s top oil supplier, surpassing Saudi Arabia. As China continues to increase its purchases of Russian oil, it strengthens the energy partnership between the two countries and promotes closer economic ties.