Chinese crude imports from Saudi Arabia were 1.357mn b/d in January, down almost 300,000 b/d from the all-time high of 1.641mn b/d set in December though still up over 200,000 b/d on the 2018 average of 1.135mn b/d, itself a record.

Saudi state firm Aramco has recently signed a flurry of supply deals with China, in addition to downstream stakes (MEES, 1 March). But it will have its work cut out to top Russia as China’s top supplier. Russia supplied 1.647mn b/d in January. It has supplied over 1.6mn b/d for each of the last five months, a level never previously breached by either Russia or any other supplier. (CONTINUED - 240 WORDS)