The latest data showed that Russia overtook Saudi Arabia and became the largest supplier of crude oil to China in 2023, and has challenged Beijing. Western sanctions To purchase large quantities of oil at a discount for its processing facilities, China is the largest importer of crude in the world.
Chinese customs data also stated that Russia shipped record quantities of 107.02 million metric tons of crude oil to China last year (equivalent to 2.14 million barrels per day) at a value of $60.6 billion for the year, which is much more than its imports from two other major sources, such as Saudi Arabia and Iraq. .
Imports from Saudi Arabia declined to 85.96 million tons, as the Middle East oil giant lost market share to cheaper Russian crude.
After many international buyers avoided Russian crude against the backdrop of Western sanctions due to… War in Ukraine – which began in February 2022 – was traded at significant discounts compared to international prices during most of last year, amid the West imposing a maximum price.
The acceleration in demand from Chinese and Indian refiners for discounted oil led to a boost in the price of Russian ESPO crude in 2023, exceeding the maximum price per barrel imposed by the Group of Seven in December 2022 in light of alternative shipping and insurance options to circumvent sanctions.
Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia has raised prices for Arab Light crude since July, prompting some refiners to look for cheaper shipments.
Chinese refiners resort to intermediaries to handle insurance and shipping for Russian crude to avoid violating Western sanctions.
Buyers also use the waters off Malaysia as a transshipment point for sanctioned oil from Iran and Venezuela, and imports registered as originating in Malaysia rose by 53.7% last year.
China's total imports of crude oil for 2023 rose to a record level of 563.99 million metric tons, equivalent to 11.28 million barrels per day.
Increase gas exports
Russia has significantly increased its exports of liquefied gas, pipeline gas and oil to China during 2023, according to the Chinese Customs Administration.
It stated that about 8 million tons of Russian liquefied gas were imported for $5.18 billion.
The increase in supplies reached 23% compared to 2022, as China purchased 6.5 million tons of Russian liquefied gas for $6.883 billion.
The administration confirmed that in December alone, China purchased 519.2 thousand tons of Russian liquefied gas for $390 million.
It also indicated a rise in Russia's oil exports to China over the past year, an increase of 24% over 2022, reaching 107 million tons worth $60.6 billion.
At the beginning of this year, the Russian company “Gazprom” announced that gas exports to China via the “Power of Siberia” pipeline amounted to 22.7 billion cubic meters during the year 2023.
The company's statement said, “By the end of 2023, gas exports to China via the Siberian Power reached 22.7 billion cubic meters, which is 700 million cubic meters more than contractual obligations.”