By Irina Slav
November 22, 2022 - China’s energy imports from Russia, including coal, oil, and natural gas, have reached $60 billion since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Bloomberg has reported, up from $35 billion in the same period of 2021.
China has become Russia’s biggest energy client alongside India, with both countries refusing to join the Western sanction push against Moscow and instead opting to continue doing business and forging closer political ties with Russia.
Crude oil imports from Russia into China rose even in October when overall oil imports were down by almost 5 percent. That’s because Chinese refiners, like those in India, are preparing for the European Union embargo on Russian crude, which enters into effect on December 5.
Once the embargo kicks in, the EU will no longer provide shopping, insurance, and financing services to third parties that want to buy Russian crude unless they buy it at or below a price that has yet to be set by the G7 under its plans for a price cap on Russian oil. The cap aims to curb Russia’s oil revenues while keeping Russian oil flowing into international markets.
In addition to more oil, China also imported more Russian liquefied natural gas in October, the Bloomberg report noted. At 756,000 tons, the volume was markedly higher than LNG imports same time last year, and the increase came despite a 34-percent decline in overall LNG imports.
Coal imports in October were 26 percent higher than last year, with coking coal imports specifically up threefold from a year ago. Coking coal is used in steelmaking.
The total value of these energy imports hit $7.7 billion in October, which was $100 million higher than the value of September energy imports from Russia and $2.3 billion higher than the value of Chinese energy imports from Russia for October 2021.