Measurement and Testing

What Can We Tell from China's Crude Oil Imports?

Oct 11 2017 Comments 0

As the biggest crude guzzler on the planet, China is a major influencer when it comes to the global oil market. So what can we tell from the latest data on China's crude oil imports? According to analysts there are some big winners and losers, with the statistics offering a picture of which exporters are doing the heavy lifting in terms of reducing supplies, and which countries are reaping the benefits of OPEC's efforts to rebalance the market.

China imports soar by 12.3%

In the first eight months of 2017 China imported over 281 million tonnes of crude, a figure that equates to around 8.44 million barrels per day (bpd). This represents a huge 12.3% jump on last year's statistics, and confirms that China will be a major contributor to the International Energy Agency prediction that world oil consumption will rise to 1.6 million bpd in 2017.

Saudis slip out of first place

While Chinese import data doesn't offer a definitive overview at global oil market dynamics, it does offer a glimpse at which exporters are gaining market share, and which are losing out. While Saudi Arabia was China's biggest oil supplier in 2016, the first eight months of 2017 saw it slip into third place. The Kingdom still sold China 1.03 million bpd, though when compared to China’s overall growth rate it represents a 1.7% drop from the same period last year. Iran has also lost 83,000 bpd in the first eight months, while Iraq has forgone 17,000 bpd.

Russia and Angola up the ante

Meanwhile, Russia and Angola have stepped up and managed to boost their share of China’s crude imports. This is despite the fact that last November they agreed to curb production under an agreement put forward by OPEC. China imported 1.05 million bpd from Angola in the first eight months of 2017, which marks an increase of 16.6% from the same period last year. Imports from Russia were also up, with China purchasing 1.16 million bpd in the first eight months of 2017. This figure marks a gain of 13.2% which adds an extra 10,000 bpd to its market share.

USA emerges as BIG winner

There have also been some big wins for exporters outside the OPEC and allies deal, with Brazil increasing its market share by a huge 41.8% to 480,000 bpd. The United States is another standout, with China importing 128,000 bpd of American crude in the first eight months of 2017. This translates to a leap of more than 1000% compared to what imports would have been had the US matched China’s overall import growth rate of 12.3%.

With Chinese imports on the rise efficiency is front of mind for major exporters. For a closer look at the latest technologies being used to minimise errors and maximise efficiency, 'VUV PIONA+ Improves Accuracy of Hydrocarbon Reporting in Gasoline' spotlights next generation spectral matching and deconvolution technology.

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