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China resumes oil imports from Sudan

BUSINESS
By Reuters | September 22nd 2012

China in August made its first crude oil purchase from Sudan since April, importing about 140,000 tonnes, customs data showed.  Traders said purchases may increase once Sudan and rival South Sudan finalise a border deal.

China did not import any crude from South Sudan in August, the data showed, as oil output there remained shut. South Sudan, which inherited about 75 per cent of Sudan’s oil output when it declared independence in July last year, halted oil flows in January during a dispute with Khartoum over how much it should pay to export crude through pipelines in Sudanese territories to a Red Sea port.

The leaders of Sudan and South Sudan are due to meet on Sunday to wrap up two weeks of talks to end hostilities and agree on a border security deal that would allow for the resumption of oil exports.

Traders said China’s August imports from Sudan could be from storage tanks held by state-run China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), the largest investor in the oil business in both Sudan and South Sudan.

CNPC in July sold a one million barrel cargo of Nile Blend crude for July-August loadings to Chinese trader Unipec. Sudan was China’s seventh largest crude oil supplier last year, but imports from both Sudan and South Sudan for the first eight months of this year were only a quarter of the average daily rate for 2011.

China’s total imports from Sudan so far this year were about 1.5 million tonnes, or 45,000 barrels per day  (bpd), while imports from South Sudan averaged 20,000 bpd, the customs data showed.

A senior Chinese diplomat said last week South Sudan may resume pumping oil as early as November.                          —Reuters

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