China is finding oil supplies 14,000 miles away, aided by the global rout in prices that’s left producers vying for new markets.
PetroChina Co. said it bought Colombian crude for a northern refinery for the first time because it was good value. The transaction underscores how the world’s second-biggest oil consumer is benefiting as producers from the Middle East to Latin America vie for customers in Asia.
Brent oil futures tumbled to the lowest level since 2010 as the highest U.S. output in almost 30 years cuts its consumption of foreign crude. OPEC’s biggest producers are reducing prices to defend their market share. China consumed the second-biggest amount of crude on record in September and imported the largest volume ever for that time of year, customs data show.
“China will just look to get the cheapest crude possible from whatever source it can,” Virendra Chauhan, a London-based analyst at Energy Aspects Ltd., said by phone Oct. 21. “I expect a lot more volumes flowing to China in particular.”
The country’s crude imports rose 7.8 percent to 27.6 million tons, or 6.74 million barrels a day, in September from last year, the data show. The number of supertankers sailing toward China’s ports surged to a nine-month high last week, according to IHS Fairplay vessel-tracking signals compiled by Bloomberg as of Oct. 17.
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