Russia has become China’s biggest oil supplier after imports of Russian oil rose by 55% from a year earlier to a record level in May, displacing Saudi Arabia as China’s biggest provider.
The imports into China totaled nearly 8.42m tonnes last month, according to data from the Chinese General Administration of Customs. Russian oil imports include supply from the East Siberia Pacific Ocean pipeline and seaborne shipments from Russia’s European and Far Eastern ports.
That’s equivalent to roughly 1.98 million barrels per day (bpd) and up a quarter from 1.59 million bpd in April.
China has ramped up purchases of Russian oil despite sanctions after the invasion to Ukraine and a slowing economy. Buyers in Europe and the US shunned Russian energy in line with sanctions over the ongoing war.
Chinese companies, including state refining giant Sinopec and Zhenhua Oil, have increased their purchases of Russian crude after being offered discounts.
Despite efforts by Western countries to sanction Russian oil exports Moscow has been able to find buyers, though it has had to slash prices,
Data also showed China’s imports of Russian liquefied natural gas amounted to nearly 400,000 tonnes last month, 56% more than May of 2021, as reported by Reuters.