Kuwait’s oil export patterns are undergoing a dramatic shift. Vietnam is emerging as an increasingly important market, and while China is already the number one buyer, Kuwait is eying a near-50% increase to world’s largest crude importer next year.

Kuwaiti crude and condensate exports to China have more than doubled over the past five years, but the emirate has major ambitions to push further. China has traditionally been a relatively minor market for Kuwait, with volumes only...