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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Sinopec Seeks Middle East Oil as Russian Supplies Run Dry

BEIJING -- China's Sinopec refinery in Beijing starts operating at near full rates in August, some 30 percent above year-earlier levels, and is processing more Middle East crude after its Russian supply dried up, a company official said Wednesday.

The newly expanded Sinopec unit stopped receiving Russian crude oil moved by rail via the northern Chinese region of Inner Mongolia since late last year, the official said.

"No more Russian oil. We are taking in oil from Oman, Kuwait and other high-sulphur grades instead," the official said.

Traders earlier said Russia's crude shipment via the Inner Mongolian point of Erlian started to dry up this year, compensated by rail supply from a second border point, Manzhouli, in the country's northeastern border.

Total Russian crude exports, including a small portion of seaborne shipment, were down 6.7 percent in the first half of 2007 versus a year ago, despite a 11.2 percent increase in China's total crude imports, customs figures showed.

Russia, which said in February that it hoped to send as much as 300,000 barrels per day of crude by rail to China this year, may miss the target again, if it fails to accelerate its supply in the second half from the estimated 258,000 bpd seen in the first half, said a Sinopec trader.