Saudi Arabia, the world’s biggest oil exporter, beat Russia to keep its ranking as China’s top crude supplier in 2020, Chinese government data showed.
Oil demand in China, the world’s top oil importer, remained strong last year even as the coronavirus crisis hammered global appetite. Chinese imports rose 7.3% to a record of 542.4 million tonnes or 10.85 million barrels per day (bpd).
Saudi shipments to China in 2020 were rose 1.9% from a year earlier to 84.92 million tonnes, or about 1.69 million bpd, data from the General Administration of Chinese Customs showed.
Russia was a close second with shipments of 83.57 million tonnes, or 1.67 million bpd, up 7.6% from 2019, the data showed.
In December, Saudi supplies were 6.94 million tonnes, down 0.8% from the same month a year earlier, while Russian volumes fell 15.7% to 6.2 million tonnes.
Saudi Arabia has played catch up as a supplier since November by cutting prices to woo customers, overtaking Russia, which had led for most of 2020 with more flexible transport options and geographical proximity to Chinese refiners.