June 26, 2020 / 3:57 AM / 11 days ago

China's Saudi oil imports surge in May to all-time high - customs

    * Imports from top supplier Saudi Arabia at record 2.16 mln
    * Second-ranking supplier Russia 1.82 mln bpd 
    * First U.S. imports since last November 
    * No Venezuelan imports; Iranian shipments near record lows 

    BEIJING/SINGAPORE, June 25 (Reuters) - China's crude oil
imports from Saudi Arabia nearly doubled in May from a year
earlier to all-time high as refineries snapped up cheap fuel,
while the kingdom retained its position as the top supplier to
the world's biggest oil buyer.
    Arrivals from Saudi last month reached 9.165 million tonnes,
or 2.16 million barrels per day (bpd), up about 95% from 1.11
million bpd in May 2019 and up 71% from 1.26 million bpd in
April, data from the General Administration of Customs showed.
    Chinese refineries have cranked up throughput to meet a
recovery in fuel demand, but have also been increasing crude
storage to take advantage of cheap prices after the coronavirus
pandemic roiled global demand.
    Energy consultancy Kpler estimated China's crude storage has
reached an all-time high of 782 million barrels, with the
country's total capacity 61% full. 
    China's overall crude oil imports jumped 19.2% in May from a
year earlier to the highest monthly level on record, data
released earlier this month showed, as demand for fuel recovered
strongly after the easing of coronavirus curbs.
    In May, Chinese refineries received their first crude cargo
from the United States since November, of around 550,000 tonnes,
the customs data released late on Thursday showed.
    China is set to import a record amount of U.S. crude oil in
July, Refinitiv data showed, as cargoes bought by bargain
hunters during the depths of the price rout in April get
    Russian shipments last month rose to 7.71 million tonnes, or
 1.82 million bpd, up from 1.75 million bpd in April and 1.5
million bpd over same period last year. 
    Amid tight U.S. sanctions, China shied away from imports
from Venezuela and shipments from Iran were near record lows,
data showed. 
    Below are details of imports from key suppliers.
 Country       May(tonne  y/y % change  Jan-May     y/y % change
               s)                       (tonnes)    
 Saudi Arabia  9,164,983  94.9          36,276,523  20.8
 Russia        7,707,716  21.3          35,983,837  17.8
 Iraq          6,962,504  54.7          27,178,178  41.5
 Oman          3,243,765  -1.8          15,335,328  12.4
 Angola        2,926,383  -21.4         16,633,435  -20
 Malaysia      1,006,532  -27           7,210,039   120
 Iran          256,813    -76           1,006,532   -90
 U.S.          549,839    -30           549,839     -59.2
 Venezuela     0                        0           

 (Reporting by Muyu Xu and Chen Aizhu; editing by Richard
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