A new report from Reuters has stated that Russia has overtaken Saudi Arabia as China’s top oil supplier by supplying 1.98 million bpd of Russian crude oil in May.
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May saw a record quantity of Russian crude being imported into China, with arrivals rising by 55 percent to almost 2 million barrels per day (bpd). As a result, Russia is now the top supplier to the world’s top crude importer and surpasses Saudi Arabia for the first time in an 18-month period.
According to data from China’s General Administration of Customs reported by Reuters, a record amount of cheap Russian oil, which sells at significant discounts to crude from other countries, made its way to Chinese refiners last month.
According to the report, China purchased 1.98 million bpd of Russian crude oil in May, up from 1.59 million bpd in April 2022 and up by 55 percent from May last year.
Saudi Arabia, Russia’s partner in the OPEC+ deal, was unable to keep up with the increasing demand for Russian oil. According to data reported by Reuters, China imported 1.84 million bpd on average of Saudi oil in May, a 9% increase from May 2021 but a decrease from 2.17 million bpd imported in April.
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According to estimates from Reuters, Russia overtook Saudi Arabia as the world’s top oil supplier for the first time in 19 months as a result of an increase in cheap crude exports to China.
Since Western buyers have turned away from Russian oil and the EU, which was Russia’s top oil customer prior to the conflict in Ukraine, is getting ready to impose a gradual embargo on seaborne imports from Russia by the end of the year, Russia has been selling more of its crude to China and India.
According to estimates, Russia became India’s second-largest crude oil supplier in May, overtaking Saudi Arabia. Last month, Russian oil exports to India increased from 277,000 barrels per day in April to 819,000 barrels per day.
Half of Russia’s crude oil is headed towards Asia. Alexander Dyukov, CEO of Gazprom Neft, stated last week that this compared to the 75 percent of Russia’s oil exports that were being sent to Europe earlier this year.
Analysts do not believe that the 4 million bpd of oil that Russia was exporting to Europe prior to its invasion of Ukraine can be fully absorbed by the Asian market.