BBC Chinese recently published a fact-check article looking into what the latest transportation data showed. China is buying more Russian oil, and India is ramping up imports from Russia as well. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has been going on for more than half a year. Asian countries bought oil and gas from Russia at a discount as the West has imposed sanctions on Russia and plans gradually to to reduce its energy dependence on Russia. Since Russia invaded Ukraine, Russian energy exports to the EU have fallen. Never-the-less, the EU is still buying huge amounts of oil, more than a million barrels a day. However, EU member states have said that, starting in December, they will ban all oil shipped by sea and most Russian oil is transported by sea rather than through pipelines. India and China, however, have recently become big buyers, accounting for more than half of all seaborne oil exports from Russia. In March, China and India imported more oil from Russia than the 27 EU member states combined. Ocean shipping information showed that India’s import of Russian oil known as Urals and ESPO (Eastern Siberia Pacific Ocean) showed sharp increases. Since March, China has also been buying a lot of Urals and ESPO. In early July, China reportedly bought a record amount for the second month in a row. By contrast, Japan has made it clear that it will phase out imports of Russian oil, while South Korea’s imports of Russian crude oil have also declined. While the price of Russian oil is attractive, India’s big refiners are facing difficulties in how to finance these purchases due to sanctions on Russian banks. One of the options India has is to trade in local currencies. Russia also asked India to pay in UAE currency. China’s state-owned oil companies are increasingly using Chinese Yuan instead of US. Dollars to buy oil from abroad. In July, Russia remained China’s largest oil supplier for three consecutive months.
Source: BBC Chinese, September 11, 2022