Those sanctions are just killing the Russians. From Tsvetana Paraskova at oilprice.com:
- Chinese imports of Russian crude surged by 55 percent in May as the world’s biggest importer of oil took advantage of major discounts.
- Russia has now overtaken Saudi Arabia as China’s top oil supplier.
- While Russia is sending lots more crude to Asia, it is unlikely that the Asian market can absorb all 4 million barrels that were going to Europe.
China imported a record volume of Russian crude in May, with arrivals surging by 55 percent to nearly 2 million barrels per day (bpd). This has made Russia the top oil supplier to the world’s leading crude importer—putting it ahead of Saudi Arabia for the first time in a year and a half. A record volume of cheap Russian oil, which sells at steep discounts to crude from other countries, made its way to Chinese refiners last month, according to figures from China’s General Administration of Customs cited by Reuters.
China imported 1.98 million bpd of Russian crude oil in May, up by 55 percent from May last year and up from 1.59 million bpd of Russian oil imported in April 2022, the data showed.
The high purchases of Russian oil outstripped supply from Saudi Arabia, Russia’s partner in the OPEC+ deal. Chinese imports of Saudi crude averaged 1.84 million bpd in May, up by 9 percent compared to May 2021, but down from 2.17 million bpd imported in April, according to the data cited by Reuters.
Thanks to the increased shipments of cheap crude to China, Russia became the top supplier to the world’s biggest oil importer for the first time in 19 months, per Reuters estimates.