Russia is top China oil supplier fourth straight month in June, longest streak ever

FILE PHOTO: A general view of a crude oil importing port in Qingdao, Shandong province, November 9, 2008. REUTERS/Stringer/File Photo

BEIJING (Reuters) - Russia was China’s biggest crude oil supplier for a fourth straight month in June, its longest streak ever in the top spot, data from the General Administration of Customs showed on Monday.

China’s total crude oil imports reached 36.11 million tonnes in June, or 8.79 million barrels per day (bpd), making the country the world’s largest buyer for a second month. However, imports dipped 2.9 percent from May’s purchases, the second-highest on record.

Russia’s shipments to China last month rose 27 percent from a year ago to 1.27 million bpd, but were down from its record 1.35 million bpd in May, the customs data showed. The country has been China’s top oil exporter since March, its longest period ever as the biggest supplier.

Russian crude exports to China grew this year after independent refiners expanded their diet to include the Urals grade exported from the Mediterranean. China also snapped up almost all of the ESPO blend exports from the Pacific port of Kozmino.

Shipments from Angola rose 10.6 percent from a year ago to 1 million bpd, the data showed. That was also down from May’s 1.31 million bpd, the data showed.

Russia and Angola are also the top two suppliers for the first six months of this year. During the period, Russia supplied 29.2 million tonnes of crude to China, or 1.18 million bpd, and Angola shipped 1.09 million bpd, a 22 percent jump from last year.

Saudi Arabia’s exports continue to fall, with June shipments down 15.8 percent from a year ago to 936,607 bpd, making it China’s third-largest supplier. For the year to date, it has shipped 1.07 million bpd.

Lower refinery throughput is likely to further reduce China’s demand for crude in coming months, with almost 10 percent of the country’s refining capacity set to be shut down during the third quarter as the industry struggles under a glut of fuel products.

The data also showed that June imports from Iraq surged 47 percent compared with a year ago to 834,788 bpd. Supplies from Brazil jumped 118 percent to 689,969 bpd in June, making it the fifth-biggest supplier for the month.

Reporting by Dominique Patton; Editing by Christian Schmollinger and Tom Hogue