China imported 43% more crude oil from Saudi Arabia in year-on-year data for April

China imported a lot more crude oil from Saudi Arabia in the last year than it did the previous year, data has shown.

The world’s second-largest economy had its crude oil imports from the Saudi Arabia rise by 43% in year on year basis, largely due to increased demand from private refiners. But the figures once again reinforce the OPEC kingpin’s position as China’s top crude supplier.

A report from the General Administration of Customs published Saturday shows that Saudi imports increased to 6.30 million tons for the month- that is a total of 1.53 million bpd. In comparison, the same period a year ago saw barrels per day imports total at 1.07 million.

According to the GAC data, shipments from Saudi Arabia have been supported by increasingly higher run rates at the Hengli Petrochemical Co Ltd. The refinery has seen rates that churned 400,000 bpd. The facility, located in the northeast of China, is projected to attain optimal production capacity by the end of June.

Notably, GAC data reveals that nearly 70% of Hengli’s feedstock was imported from Saudi Arabia.

Russian year on year supplies in April rose to 6.12 million tonnes, roughly 1.49 million barrels a day. That went up because, in April 2018, the bpd capacity was 1.35 million.

Meanwhile, China’s crude oil imports from Iran stood at 3.24 million tonnes year on year this past April, about 789,137 bpd. That too went up, with imports in March reaching 541,100 barrels per day (pbd).

The rise in crude oil imports comes amid sustained efforts by various oil companies who are reportedly ramping up on their stock before the U.S. moves to scrap off the sanction waivers it had advanced to major buyers of Iranian oil.

Elsewhere, energy firms in the United States have this week cut on oil rigs in operation, the third consecutive week they have reduced the total numbers. The move has reportedly been occasioned by weaker oil prices, a factor that has encouraged drillers to implement plans for spending cuts.