Russia’s oil exports to China are up by 22%

Chinese oil imports from Russia rose 22% in September from a year earlier as independent refiners buy Russian fuels at lower prices in the face of weak domestic refining margins.

Data from China’s customs bureau showed Monday that Russia pumps oil through an oil pipeline in the East Siberian Pacific Ocean, with sea cargoes from Russia’s European and Far Eastern ports totaling 7.46 million tons.

The volume, which equaled 1.82 million barrels per day, was down from 1.96 million barrels per day in August. This compares with a record high of almost 2 million barrels per day in May.

Imports from major Saudi suppliers totaled 7.53 million tons, or 1.83 million barrels per day, down from 1.99 million barrels per day in August and down 5.4% from a year earlier. In the first nine months, Saudi Arabia led the way with 65.84 million tons, down 1% from a year earlier. Russian volumes rose by almost 9% to 64.26 million tons.

However, China’s total crude oil imports declined by 2% year-on-year.

In addition, imports from Malaysia, which has been a transshipment point for oil from Iran, Venezuela, and Russia over the past two years, more than doubled from August (3.37 million tons) to a high of 4.05 million tons.

China also imported about 795,000 tons of U.S. crude oil in September, following no imports in August.

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