US oil exports have jumped in recent months.

China ramped up its purchases of US oil to an 18-month high in July, according to Vortexa.
The analytics company said China pivoted away from Russia last month as it restocked its refineries.
US oil is trading at a marked discount to Brent crude, causing American exports to surge. 

China’s imports of US oil rose to their highest level in 18 months in July as the country turned away from Russian crude, according to Vortexa.

The commodities data company said ships in the US had loaded around 330,000 barrels a day of oil bound for China in July, compared with just 60,000 barrels a day in the previous two months.

The cargoes were destined for refineries owned by state oil giant Sinopec, which is stocking up on crude oil in the expectations that demand will increase in the fall.

Yet at the same time, China cut back on imports from Russia, according to Vortexa. Sinopec took only three cargoes from the Russian far east in July, after loading up around 14 in both May and June.

Global energy markets have been rocked in 2022 by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in late February, which led to Western governments slapping tough sanctions on Moscow.

As Western buyers have shunned Russian oil, both China and India have stepped up their purchases, helping production from the country stay steady.

The appeal of US oil looks set to continue in August, Vortexa’s analysts said in their report Monday.

“Shipping fixtures indicate that Chinese appetite for US crude has remained robust this month,” they noted.

However, they added that imports from Russia also look as if they’re picking up again this month.

WTI crude — also called US oil — has recently become more attractive to buyers, as it has become considerably cheaper than Brent crude, the international benchmark.

The discount on WTI when compared with the price of Brent is at around a three-year high, which helped drive US exports to a record high in July.

Oil prices have fallen sharply in recent weeks as fears have grown that the world is heading for a recession and traders have bet energy demand will drop.

Brent crude was little changed on Wednesday at around $92 a barrel, down roughly 13% over the last month, with WTI trading at around $86.50.

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