Saudi Aramco signed five crude oil supply agreements with
Chinese customers as the world's biggest oil producer seeks to regain its spot as the top supplier to the world's second-largest oil consumer.
Aramco finalised deals to export 1.67 million barrels per day of oil to China, whose top oil supplier is Russia. The agreements were signed at the first China International Import Expo in Shanghai.
“Not only is this [agreement] … unprecedented for China, but rarely has a single country in Saudi Aramco’s history bought so much oil,” the company said on its website.
“The new supply contracts make it very likely that Saudi Aramco next year will become China’s largest supplier, a position it also held from 2006 until 2016.”
China’s oil imports in the first nine months of this year rose 6 per cent to 336 million tonnes, or 8.98 million bpd, compared with the same period of last year. In September, oil imports rose to a four-year high of 9.05 million bpd.
The world’s second-largest economy imports most of its oil from the Middle East, Russia and West Africa.
The new supply agreements are in line with the “focus on customer diversification,
strategic relationships and tapping regional demand previously not supplied by Saudi Aramco”, the company said.
“They are critical to diversifying Saudi Aramco’s customer base and capturing a large share of China’s future incremental oil demand, which will increasingly come from private refiners.”
Last month, Saudi Aramco signed a preliminary agreement to acquire a stake in a refinery in the eastern Chinese province of Zhejiang.
Saudi Aramco did not disclose the value of its stake in the Zhejiang Petrochemical’s new refinery project.
In September the Saudi state energy company signed a long-term deal with Rongsheng, a petrochemical firm in Zhejiang.