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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 19 December 2018

Russia, Angola top Saudi Arabia as biggest oil suppliers to China

Imports of Russian crude soar by almost two thirds as it cements its dominant position

Geopolitical risks may cause oil to reach $80 according to Citigroup. Carlos Jasso / Reuters
Geopolitical risks may cause oil to reach $80 according to Citigroup. Carlos Jasso / Reuters

Russia continues to pull ahead of its oil rivals including Saudi Arabia in China, the world’s biggest energy user.

The Asian nation’s imports of Russian crude jumped 61 per cent to a record 6.35 million tonnes in September from a year earlier, according to general administration of customs data. That helped Russia retain the top spot for the seventh straight month. Saudi Arabia, the world’s biggest crude exporter, supplied about 10 per cent more at 4.28 million tonnes, while retreating to the third-biggest. Angola was the second-biggest seller.

Russia is on a path to become the top supplier for the full year again, after last year surpassing the kingdom that has been a dominant supplier for years. Russian shipments during the first nine months were 45 million tonnes, the biggest volume among suppliers, data compiled by Bloomberg show. Angola shipped 39.9 million tonnes and Saudi 38.5 million tonnes.

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Russia is dominating amid heightened competition for major markets including China and India as Opec and other producers such as Russia implement output cuts to clear a glut and lift oil prices. The nations that are part of the deal will meet on November 30 in Vienna to discuss prolonging the curbs beyond March.

The Russian energy minister Alexander Novak said on Tuesday that compliance with a global output cut deal in the past nine months had been 102 per cent.

He said compliance by Opec countries had been 100 per cent and compliance by non-Opec countries 106 percent.

Speaking at a business forum in Moscow, Mr Novak said it was too early, however, to take a decision on whether the output deal should be extended beyond the end of March.