China Hires More Tankers to Carry Russian Crude

  • Western nations have shunned Russian oil, but China is importing 1.1 million barrels a day by sea.
  • Chinese oil giant Unipec has hired at least 10 tankers to transport Russian ESPO crude.
  • Russian oil trades at a significant discount to Brent and WTI.

China’s largest oil trader has hired at least 10 tankers to increase its Russian crude imports, according to Bloomberg.

China International United Petroleum & Chemical Co, also known as Unipec, has increased its fleet five-fold as the country aims to import 1.1 million barrels of crude oil a day by sea.

Russian oil currently trades at a significant discount to other varieties. While Brent and WTI crude are currently priced at $114 and $107 a barrel respectively, Russian Urals costs just $87.

Demand for Urals has fallen significantly due to Western sanctions imposed after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The US and UK have both banned Russian oil imports, while EU diplomats are still trying to push through a similar plan despite the objections of Hungary’s prime minister, Viktor Orban.

In contrast, Beijing has taken the opportunity to snap up cheap oil, importing Russian crude at a discount of up to $29 a barrel.

China also receives about 800,000 barrels of Russian oil via pipeline from pre-existing government frameworks, meaning it consumes nearly 2 million barrels a day. It accounts for 15% of Urals’ global demand, according to Reuters.

Read more: Rising oil prices are just a sliver of what’s to come, says an energy expert. He breaks down the top 3 things investors need to understand in the face of an upcoming unprecedented energy crisis, and how to play the market.

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