Saudi Arabia, the world’s number one oil exporter, beat Russia as China’s top crude supplier in 2020, Chinese government data showed on Wednesday.
Oil demand in China remained strong last year despite the Coronavirus crisis that hammered the global market for oil. Chinese imports rose by 7.3% to 542.4 million tonnes or 10.85 million barrels per day (bpd).
Saudi Arabia was the top supplier to the Chinese Market where it recorded 84.92 million tonnes, or about 1.69 million bpd, which was 1.9% higher than 2019 to 84.92 million tonnes. Russia came in second with shipments of 83.57 million tonnes, or 1.67 million bpd which was 7.6% higher than the previous year.
Saudi Arabia hence became the top supplier to China for a second year in a row, after taking the spotlight from Russia in 2019 where It significantly raised its crude sales to the world’s largest oil importer, boosting its exports to China by 47 % and beating Russia for the top Chinese supplier spot for the first time in four years.
In 2020, Iraq was the third-biggest supplier of crude oil to China, while Brazil was fourth, capitalizing on the buying binge of Chinese refineries where China’s oil refiners bought Ultra-cheap spot cargoes from Alaska, Canada and Brazil taking advantage of the big discounts which many crude grades were being offered at due to the low demand.