With western countries ramping up sanctions on Russia, Moscow has increasingly targeted crude exports to the key Asian markets of India and China. At least as far as the world’s top importer China is concerned, there is little evidence to date of Middle East producers losing out at Russia’s expense.

Far from it. Chinese imports from Gulf countries rose 3% year-on-year to an average of 5.30mn b/d for the first eight months of 2022, putting this year on track for the highest figure ever. And this comes as continued Covid-related restrictions have seen China’s overall oil demand and crude imports fall sharply this year – at 9.96mn b/d for 8M 2022 crude imports are down 5% year-on-year including a still-subdued 9.54mn b/d for August (MEES, 9 September). (CONTINUED - 1424 WORDS)