BEIJING- Saudi Arabia held its position as China’s largest crude oil supplier in September helped by demand from new refineries and as imports from Iran and Venezuela continued to fall due to US sanctions, customs data showed.
The drone and missile attack on oil-processing plants in Saudi Arabia on Sept. 14, knocking out half of the country’s production, will likely have an impact on deliveries in October.
At the height of the disruption, Saudi Aramco asked customers to switch their crude grades for loadings in the second half of September and early October and pushed back crude and oil product deliveries to customers by days.
Saudi oil arrivals reached 7.17 million tons in September, or about 1.74 million barrels per day, data from China’s General Administration of Customs showed. That was lower than the 7.79 million tons in August and nearly double the level of 3.784 million tons in September 2018.
Imports in the first nine months were 59.7 million tons, up 55.4 percent from the same period a year earlier.
Elsewhere, rigid sanctions by the United States on Iran and tensions in the Middle East, continued to dampen imports.
China’s crude oil imports from Tehran were 538,878 tons last month, the data showed.
That compared to 787,657 tons in August, and a far cry from 2.13 million tons a year earlier.
“All the cargoes lifted after the US tightened sanctions on Iran since May were put into Chinese national reserve sites (SPR) in Tianjin, Jinzhou, Huizhou and Zhoushan,” according to a latest research note by the Refinitiv Oil Research assessments.
Emma Li, senior crude oil analyst with Refinitiv, added that the tankers that delivered Iranian oil to China since May were operated by National Iranian Tanker Co., or NITC. – Reuters