Last week, we discussed changing trends in Iraqi crude flows into Asia. Total deliveries of OPEC crude to China rose last year by 300,000 bpd, as cartel members looked to keep one of its key growth markets well supplied.
Even though Iraqi deliveries into China reached the highest on our records in November at a million barrels per day, arrivals in 2017 were actually down versus the prior year, as Iraq shifted its focus towards India and the U.S. instead.
While Iraqi deliveries to China edged lower versus 2016 volumes, other cartel members such as Angola, Venezuela, Kuwait and Libya all saw flows increase.
Angola and Venezuela led the charge in terms of higher deliveries, as both nations continue to service their debts with China (via oil, as opposed to cash). A rebound in Libyan production meant more found its way to Chinese shores, while Saudi Arabia sent just a smidge more than it did in 2016, dialing back on exports elsewhere.