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Saudi oil imports from Russia double in second quarter: report

Saudi Arabia, one of the biggest oil producers, has joined the growing list of countries importing Russian oil despite Western sanctions.

According to data reviewed by the Reuters news agency, the Gulf country imported 647,000 tons of Russian oil in the second quarter, that is, from April to June. During the same period a year ago, Saudi Arabia imported 320,000 tonnes of oil.

For the year 2021, Saudi Arabia imported 1.05 million tons of Russian fuel oil, Reuters said citing data obtained through Refinitiv Eikon ship tracking.

The kingdom’s dependence on Russian oil is at odds with its Western allies who seek to stifle the Russian treasury with its sanctions, even as Vladimir Putin continues to fund his war with cheap oil and gas.

“Saudi Arabia has indeed increased its imports of Russian fuel oil because there are no sanctions preventing that from happening,” Peter La Cour, oil analyst at Energy Aspects, told Bloomberg.

“Russian fuel oil is the cheapest barrel available to supply Saudi demand for electricity generation in the summer and makes economic sense.”

Besides Saudi Arabia, the main buyers of Russian oil have been India and China, which are struggling to control inflation that has soared recently after the Russian-Ukrainian war.

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Saudi Arabia imported Russian oil via Egypt, amounting to at least 110,000 barrels a day in June. Cairo also imported 70,000 barrels a day from Russia in June, Reuters said.

The development comes at a time when US President Joe Biden is visiting the kingdom in a bid to restore diplomatic relations, strengthen security and, most importantly, increase the global flow of oil.

(With agency contributions)

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Post expires at 11:15am on Thursday July 21st, 2022