"Countries of the Asia-Pacific Region, including China, remain the key driver behind the growth of global demand for the Russian crude oil due to old and new transactions. For several years in a row, there has been significant growth in supplies owing to the agreements reached, geographical proximity and the emergence of necessary pipeline infrastructure," said Analytical Center's expert Alexander Martinyuk during a live show on the Russia-24 Channel.
This Year, Russia Is the Leading Supplier of Crude Oil to China
The expert noted that the pipeline infrastructure is a certain guarantor and indicator of interest in supplies. According to data from the General Administration of Customs of the People's Republic of China, crude oil supplies from Russia in 2016 were 52.5 million tonnes against 42.5 million tonnes in 2015. "In the first 9 months of 2017, supplies went up by 16% versus the first 9 months of 2016. Therefore, possible volumes this year can be about 60 million tonnes. Judging from the existing agreements, by the mid-2020s, volumes can possibly reach 100 million tonnes," the expert noted.
According to the expert, supplies from Russia increase amid the growing diversification of crude oil imports from China. In the first 9 months of the current year, Russian suppliers accounted for 13.6% of total crude oil exports from China as compared with 13.4% in the 9 months of 2016, i. e. the absolute difference is not that high. However, this year, Russia is the leading supplier of crude oil to China, Mr. Martynyuk noted.
The expert named major existing suppliers from the Middle East and North Africa as the key competitors in the Chinese market in the future. "This year, crude oil supplies from Russia to China are almost on the same level as Saudi Arabia's. Iraq, Iran, Oman, the UAE, Angola and Nigeria are worth mentioning, too," Mr. Martynyuk summarized.
Generally, crude oil demand has good prospects for growth in the APEC countries due to the developing countries of the region, especially India.