Saudi Arabia held its position as China’s largest crude oil supplier in September helped by demand from new refineries and as imports from Iran and Venezuela continued to fall due to US sanctions, customs data showed on Friday.
Saudi oil arrivals reached 7.17 million tons in September, or about 1.74 million barrels per day, data from China’s General Administration of Customs showed. That was lower than the 7.79 million tons in August and nearly double the level of 3.784 million tons in September 2018.
Imports in the first nine months were 59.7 million tons, up 55.4 percent from the same period a year earlier.
Elsewhere, rigid sanctions by the United States on Iran and tensions in the Middle East, continued to dampen imports.
China’s crude oil imports from Tehran were 538,878 tons last month, the data showed. That compared to 787,657 tons in August, and a far cry from 2.13 million tons a year earlier.
Shipments from Venezuela shrank to 588,698 tons last month, data showed, down from 1.45 million tons in August and 808,593 tons in September last year.
China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) skipped loadings of Venezuelan oil for a second month in a row in September as the state oil giant looked to avoid breaching US sanctions.
Chinese crude oil buyers have also been warned against Venezuelan purchases at a government meeting around early September, Reuters reported.