Asia imported record volumes of Opec crude last year as the Gulf states pushed increased volumes of competitively-priced crude towards key clients. Cumulative volumes to the four biggest buyers – China, India, South Korea and Japan – grew 4.9%. But worryingly for the grouping, it lost further market share in Asia’s largest buyer, China, as Russian imports surged (see chart 1). Indications are that a concerted effort is being made to rectify this in 2017.

Asia’s big four buyers increased their crude imports by 1.09mn b/d in 2016, 930,000 b/d of which came from Opec. The upshot was that Opec increased its market share among the four for the first time since 2012. Opec imports accounted for 13.36mn b/d out of total imports of 18.0mn b/d. Its share of the market was 74.2%, up slightly from 2015’s 73.5%. (CONTINUED - 1503 WORDS)