According to Vortexa Analytics, Russian maritime oil imports from China were 1.1 million barrels a day in May, up from 750,000 bpd in the first quarter.
By Sen Isu and Florence Dawn
Singapore (Reuters) – After Ukraine’s invasion of Ukraine, China is quietly buying Russian oil at lower prices, according to shipping data and traders who spoke to Reuters to fill the void left by Western buyers’ withdrawal from trading with the Russians.
The move by the world’s largest oil importer comes a month after Russia initially cut off supplies, fearing it would openly support Moscow and expose its state-owned oil companies to sanctions.
Vortexa. Russia’s maritime oil imports from China are projected to reach 750,000 bpd in the first quarter of May and 800,000 bpd in 2021, to 1.1 million barrels per day (bpd), according to analytics estimates.
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Unibek, the business arm of Synobek Corp., Asia’s largest refiner, is leading the acquisition with a division of China’s defense firm Norinko, Genhua Oil, according to a shipping broker, according to Reuters and five traders.
Traders said Livna Shipping Limited, a Hong Kong-based company, has recently emerged as the largest Russian oil exporter to China.
Synobeck declined to comment. Zhenhua and Livna did not respond to requests for comment.
The United States, the United Kingdom and some major oil buyers banned Russian oil imports after the invasion. The European Union is finalizing new rounds of sanctions, including a ban on Russia’s oil purchases. Many European refineries have already stopped buying from Russia for fear of sanctions or negative publicity.
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