China Importing Oil Like Crazy

China is stuffing its strategic oil reserves. Oil prices are down and the economy is slowing, but imports are soaring.

iFeng: 中国战略储备石油:一批批油轮驶向中国港口

Reuters: China crude imports seen at record as it fills strategic reserves
Estimates by Thomson Reuters Oil Research and Forecasts indicate that China's total crude imports surpassed 31 million tonnes, or more than 7 million barrels per day (bpd), for the first time last month. That's more than 10 percent above the previous record monthly amount.

Using data on domestic output, imports and commercial storage versus demand from refineries, that raised the excess oil available for China's SPR last year to as much as 124 million barrels, separate Reuters calculations show, more than twice the 61 million barrels available for stock-building the previous year.

......SPR stocks are currently estimated at more than 30 days' worth of crude imports. China plans to build reserves of around 600 million barrels, or about 90 days of imports.
How come no one ever mentions China as a potential player in the geopolitical game of controlling oil prices? Cheap oil imports for the strategic reserve, plus weaken the strongest geopolitical contender in the region, Russia, and make it more dependent on your economy. I don't put a lot of stock in the political angle; Occam's Razor points to basic supply and demand. Nevertheless, China deserves some conspiracy theories.

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