China Poised to Import Record-High Crude Oil Volumes from Russia
03.22.2024 By Tank Terminals - NEWS

March 22, 2024 [Oil Price]- China is expected to import record-high oil volumes from Russia in March as the world’s top crude importer is mopping up cargoes shunned by India, Bloomberg reported on Monday, citing tanker-tracking data from Kpler.


China is expected to welcome this month as much as 1.7 million barrels per day (bpd) of crude from Russia as refiners are on track to import record-high volumes of the Russian grade Sokol, from which India has been shying away recently.

Chinese imports of Sokol are expected to hit a record high of 379,000 bpd in March, tripling from the February imports of this Russian grade, according to Kpler’s data.

At the same time, China’s imports of the ESPO grade from Russia are expected to hit 882,000 bpd in March, which would be the highest ESPO import volumes in China since January 2023, per Kpler’s data and analysis cited by Bloomberg.

The tougher enforcement of the G7 sanctions and related payment issues have been holding up Indian purchases of some cargoes of Russian crude oil, with tankers previously headed to India turning back eastwards, tanker-tracking data monitored by Bloomberg showed early this year.

In recent weeks, signs have emerged that China is buying up Sokol cargoes that have been stranded for months without destination.

Stranded cargoes of the Sokol crude, previously headed to India but idled off South Korea and Singapore since the U.S. stepped up sanctions enforcement, have started to make their way to China, beginning to clear a backlog of more than 10 million barrels of the grade sitting on tankers at sea.

China has increased purchases of Sokol in recent weeks and its independent refiners are expected to take several such shipments this month, traders have told Bloomberg, which also notes that tankers loaded with Sokol and idling offshore Singapore since December have started moving towards China’s shores.


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