Forty-nine countries supplied crude petroleum oil to mainland China in 2020.
The top 5 exporters (Saudi Arabia, Russia, Iraq, Angola, Brazil) provided well over half (58%) of China’s crude oil imports in 2020.
Approaching half (47.1%) of Chinese imported crude oil originated from nine Middle Eastern nations ranging from $28.1 billion provided by Saudi Arabia to $421.6 million from Egypt.
OPEC Crude Oil Supplied to China in US Dollars
China’s $176.3 billion worth of imported crude oil purchases was highly impacted by price-setting action initiated by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). However, that economic dependency has weakened over the past 5 years. OPEC countries furnished 49.2% of China’s crude petroleum imports in 2020 by value, compared to 51.8% in 2019 and 54.9% in 2016.
For both OPEC and non-OPEC sales, crude oil is priced in American dollars on world markets.
Based on the average exchange rate for 2020, the Chinese yuan depreciated by -3.9% against the US dollar since 2016 but appreciated by 0.1% from 2019 to 2020. The weaker Chinese yuan in 2020 compared to 2016 makes China’s imported crude oil paid for in stronger US dollars relatively more expensive when converted starting from Chinese yuans.
China’s Top Providers of Imported Crude Oil
Below are the top 15 countries that supplied 90.1% of the crude oil imported into mainland China during 2020.
- Saudi Arabia: US$28.1 billion (15.9% of China’s crude oil imports)
- Russia: $27.3 billion (15.5%)
- Iraq: $19.2 billion (10.9%)
- Angola: $13.91 billion (7.9%)
- Brazil: $13.9 billion (7.9%)
- Oman: $12.8 billion (7.3%)
- United Arab Emirates: $9.7 billion (5.5%)
- Kuwait: $9 billion (5.1%)
- United States: $6.3 billion (3.6%)
- Norway: $4.3 billion (2.4%)
- Malaysia: $3.7 billion (2.1%)
- Colombia: $3.5 billion (2%)
- Congo: $3 billion (1.7%)
- United Kingdom: $2.2 billion (1.2%)
- Gabon: $2.1 billion (1.2%)
China’s top 10 crude petroleum providers supply over four-fifths (81.9%) of Chinese imported crude oil. That percentage represents an uptick from the 79.3% for China’s 10 leading crude oil suppliers one year earlier.
Fastest-Growing Suppliers of China’s Imported Crude Oil
The value of Chinese purchases of crude oil from its 15 top suppliers amounted to a subtotal $158.8 billion in 2020, plunging by an average -22.9% from the $206.1 billion worth of imported crude bought from the top 15 providers during 2019.
- Norway: Up 780% since 2019
- United States: Up 89.5%
- United Arab Emirates: Up 33%
- Kuwait: Down -16.9%
- Iraq: Down -19.2%
- Oman: Down -21.9%
- Brazil: Down -24.9%
- Russia: Down -25.2%
- Saudi Arabia: Down -30%
- Malaysia: Down -33.4%
- Colombia: Down -35.6%
- Angola: Down -38.7%
- Gabon: Down -40.5%
- Congo: Down -45.4%
- United Kingdom: Down -65.9%
Just 3 crude oil exporters increased their international sales of crude oil to mainland China during 2020.
Leading the decliners among China’s top 15 sources of crude oil were exporters in the United Kingdom. Other severe declines belong to a trio of African crude petroleum providers namely Congo, Gabon and Angola.
Expanding the scope to include all 49 crude oil suppliers to mainland China, there were 10 gainers from 2019 to 2020. Those ranged from triple-digit gain for Norway (up 780%), Qatar (355.2%) and Indonesia (up 177.6%) to more modest increases for Egypt (up 9.2%), Nigeria (up 4.6%) and Vietnam (up 1.9%).
China acquired new suppliers of crude oil in 2020. Those were Guyana, South Korea, Turkmenistan and Papua New Guinea.
See also Crude Oil Exports by Country, Crude Oil Imports by Country, China’s Top 10 Exports and China’s Top 10 Imports
Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook Country Profiles. Accessed on July 11, 2021
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on July 11, 2021
Wikipedia, List of crude oil products. Accessed on July 11, 2021