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Russia became China’s largest oil supplier, a first since 2018

22 January 2024

Russia overtook Saudi Arabia last year to become China’s largest supplier of oil, which highlights the ineffectiveness of the West’s efforts to deprive the Kremlin of funds for the war in Ukraine, reports Bloomberg.

According to customs data released on Monday, the world’s largest oil importer bought a record 107 million tonnes of crude oil from Russia in 2023, almost a quarter more than in 2022. By comparison, China bought from Saudi Arabia last year a quantity of 86 million tons of crude oil.

It is the first time since 2018 that Russia is China’s main oil supplier, with supplies of about 2.15 million barrels per day.

Chinese refiners have been interested in buying Russian oil at lower prices, even though it has been sold at levels above $60 a barrel, the price ceiling imposed by Western states. Deliveries of Russian oil from the Russian Far East continue to be popular in China thanks to the relatively short duration of maritime transport, according to Agerpres.

According to Bloomberg calculations, China last year imported oil from Russia with a value of 606. billion dollars, which is an average of 77 dollars per barrel.

Other important suppliers of oil to China were, last year, Iraq and Malaysia, which ranked third and fourth, respectively. However, it should be noted that crude oil and fuel from sanctioned exporters, such as Iran, are often classified in Chinese statistics as coming from Malaysia.

Also last year, Russia was also China’s largest fuel oil supplier, with a quantity of 9.6 million tons. In the next place is Malaysia with 6.93 million tons.

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