*Chinese crude imports from Saudi Arabia leapt to a new record high of 1.98mn b/d in October, some 100,000 b/d higher than the previous record set in June. The kingdom is on track to overhaul Russia as China’s largest supplier for the first time since 2015. Russia topped Saudi each year from 2016 to 2018, but at 1.64mn b/d for the first 10 months of 2019, the kingdom is over 120,000 b/d ahead of Russia (1.51mn b/d) so far this year. Saudi has been top for each of the last five months and eight of the first 10 months this year (see chart 1).
*The record October Saudi arrivals came despite the 14 September attacks on Saudi Arabia’s Abqaiq processing facilities. Though Saudi Arabia was able to bring back production remarkably quickly after the attack, the kingdom’s exports for September (roughly corresponding to October arrival in China) at 6.67mn b/d were the lowest in two years. Supplies to China may have been boosted by volumes taken out of Aramco storage on Japan’s southern Okinawa island (MEES, 22 November). (CONTINUED - 757 WORDS)