Iraq to supply over 300,000bpd to China in 2010
Luanda, December 22, 2009
Iraq will increase its crude oil exports to China in 2010 to more than 300,000 barrels per day, Iraqi Oil Minister Hussain al-Shahristani told Reuters on Tuesday, more than double this year's amount.
Chinese traders had expected imports from Iraq to rise sharply next year after a nearly three-fold increase in the first 11 months of this year that saw average daily imports at about 144,000 bpd, according to Chinese customs data released on Tuesday.
'Price is the key. It's cheaper than Saudi or Iranian crude,' said a trader with a state run oil firm.
The sharp increase was also due to production cuts by top supplier, Saudi Arabia, on the heavier grades that Chinese refiners consider more economic to process.
'I wouldn't blame the Chinese refineries as they want to maximise their margins,' said a Beijing-based marketing executive with a Middle Eastern supplier.
Four Chinese firms are lifting Iraqi crude: state oil trader Unipec, Chinaoil and Sinochem, and Zhenhua Oil, a little-known Beijing-based oil trader affiliated to China's defense conglomerate Norinco.-Reuters