China’s crude oil imports from Russia rose 8.6% in April from a year earlier, as larger private refiners also embarked on purchases of the discounted fuel.

Arrivals from Russia, including seaborne shipments and supplies via pipelines totalled 7.1 million tonnes or 1.73 million barrels per day (bpd), according to customs data released on Saturday.

Large private integrated refiners have joined smaller independent plants in snapping up lower-priced Russian oil, both the ESPO blend loaded from Russia’s Far East and Urals from European ports.

The April arrivals were well below the record of 2.26 million bpd reached in March however. China’s overall crude oil imports last month posted a 16% decline from March.

Imports of Saudi oil totalled 8.46 million tonnes or 2.06 million bpd.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 21st, 2023.

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