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Analysis: China to remain a battle ground for Saudi Aramco, Russian crude suppliers in 2020

Analysis: China to remain a battle ground for Saudi Aramco, Russian crude suppliers in 2020

The battle for next year’s Chinese demand pie between two major crude oil producers Saudi Arabia and Russia will likely heat up over the coming weeks, with China’s state-run refineries eager to renew 2020 term supply deals with the OPEC kingpin, while independent refiners continue to favor Siberian oil.

China has been relying heavily on Saudi Arabia and Russia for its refinery feedstock requirements over the recent years, with both producers constantly switching between them the top supplier position to Asia’s biggest energy consumer.

Russia was the winner in 2018 as China imported a total of 71.59 million mt from the non-OPEC producer last year, more than the 56.73 million mt it received from Saudi Arabia.

However, the Middle East producer is holding pole position as of the first three quarters of 2019, with China receiving 59.71 million mt of Saudi crude over January-September, compared with 55.69 million mt from Russia, according to the latest data from General Administration of Customs.