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China increases purchases of Russian oil by nearly 50% after initially cutting




Russian President Vladimir Putin with Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2015.

RIA NOVOSTI/AFP via Getty Images

  • China is increasing its purchases of Russian oil and taking over from Western buyers.
  • The world’s top oil importer is approaching 1.1 million barrels a day of Russian crude shipped by sea, Reuters reported.
  • China previously recorded imports of 750,000 barrels per day in the first quarter of 2022.
  • For more stories, go to

China is increasing its purchases of cut-price Russian oil, filling the void left by Western buyers who fled crude from the Kremlin.

After initially cutting spending when Russia invaded Ukraine in late February, China is expected to import 1.1 million barrels a day of Russian oil by sea, according to Vortexa Analytics data that was released. quoted by Reuters. This is an increase of around 47% compared to the 750,000 bpd in the first quarter.

Beijing is grabbing Russian crude at heavily discounted prices, according to Reuters, with spot differentials nearly $29 a barrel lower than before Russia’s war on Ukraine. China buys the crude through Unipec, the trading arm of Asia’s premier refinery, Sinopec.

China also receives around 800,000 barrels of Russian oil through a pipeline from pre-existing government executives, Reuters added. This brings China’s consumption of Russian oil to almost 2 million barrels a day in May, or 15% of its overall demand.

Western sanctions have yet to completely deter global customers from buying Russian oil. While the European Union has publicly condemned the Kremlin for its war in Ukraine, it has yet to impose an oil embargo. Meanwhile, China and India have stepped up their purchases of Russian oil.

Last week, the International Energy Agency said Russian oil export earnings increased by 50% since the start of 2022, the Kremlin generating nearly $20 billion in sales per month.

Export volumes rebounded to levels seen before Russia invaded Ukraine. In April, Russian oil exports rose by 620,000 barrels a day from the previous month to 8.1 million, returning to their January and February average, the IEA said.

Russian oil production also rebounds. Alexander Novak, a top energy official and Kremlin deputy premier, said production rose by 200,000 to 300,000 barrels per day in May after falling by 1 million barrels per day in April.

“We expect a further recovery in June,” Novak said Thursday at an event in Moscow, according to Bloomberg.

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