Iraq is in advanced talks with oil giants in China to develop crude oil storage facilities in the country, media reports said. The recent developments are part of Iraq’s plan to boost oil sales in Asia. Iraq’s Oil Minister Ihsan Abdul Jabbar told the media, “Iraq is also discussing plans proposed by Pakistan for building crude oil storage facilities.”
According to energy analytics company OilX, China’s January crude oil imports averaged 11.12 million barrels per day (bpd). This was an 18 percent increase when compared to the previous month. China was also the world’s largest oil buyer in 2020 as the Asian superpower filled up its reserves with cheap oil amid the pandemic.
Last year, it was reported that Chinese state-owned China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) and China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) are interested in ExxonMobil’s operating stake in the West Qurna 1 oil fields in Iraq. West Qurna 1 is one of the largest oil fields in Iraq.
During the same period, Venezuela resumed sending crude oil shipments to China despite US sanctions. China is also the biggest buyer of Venezuelan crude. Previously, Venezuela sold oil to China via ship-to-ship transfers at sea, however, Venezuela started delivering crude directly to Chinese shores.
In October, China’s crude oil imports registered a 6.5 percent year-on-year decline since April to 10.06 million barrels per day (bpd), as refiners slowed down on their purchases amid a drop in throughput and less import quotas.