Saudi crude exports to China are running at record levels. But, though they may rise further next year, Russia is unlikely to be usurped as No.1 in the Middle Kingdom.

Saudi Aramco last week claimed that it was set to not only ship record volumes of crude to China in 2019, but to usurp Russia as top supplier (MEES, 23 November). Term shipments will hit 1.67mn b/d on the back of five crude supply deals signed earlier this month which “make it very likely that Saudi Arabia next year...