Will Russian oil replace Saudi?
As a result of the events of 2015, Russia was the second country in respect of exportation of oil to China – 42.43 million tons of oil (the annual increase was 28%). The leading positions belonged to Saudi Arabia last year, which supplied 50.55 million tons, an annual increase of 1.78%. According to a report released by China's General Administration of Customs, in December 2015 the Russian Federation increased the volume of oil supplies to China to 4.81 million tonnes, which exceeded the index of 2014 by 29%. In total, last year Russia became the largest exporter of oil to China four times as much: in May, September, November and December.
The leading analyst of the National Energy Security, Igor Yushkov, stated in an interview with a correspondent of Vestnik Kavkaza that Russia is quite capable of overtaking Saudi Arabia and taking first place in the export of oil to China, so Russia is more secure partner for China in terms of transit risks.
"China buys oil both from Saudi Arabia, and Angola, as well as other countries in the Middle East and Africa. In any case, it firstly passes through the Strait of Malacca in Southeast Asia, and then it is delivered to the ports of China on the sea,'' he said.
He also recalled that, at the ceremony of launching of the construction of the Power of Siberia gas pipeline, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that the head of Rosneft, Igor Sechin, proposed that he support the idea of selling a part of the shares of the Vankor project of China's state oil company CNPC. "The head of state noted that there were no restrictions for Chinese friends there. The deal hasn't taken place yet, but it is possible that Chinese and Indian companies will get a non-controlling interest up to 49% of the Vankorneft shares. "Now the Indians are close to this, but the Chinese companies may well succeed in it. This is just done for the reason that Beijing wants to ensure a source of oil supplies,'' the expert said.
The deputy director of the Institute of Asian and African Studies of Moscow State University, Andrey Korneev, said that Russia's indicators are already quite close to the Saudi ones. "This is not the first time that we have excelled in Saudi Arabia. In fact, we are already in the top three leading suppliers, and maybe even in the two leading suppliers of oil to China. I think that it is more important for Russia to only try to supply crude oil, but also to continue efforts to build oil refineries on the territory of China, in addition to maintenance of the current volume. The first project was implemented in Tianjin,'' the expert said.