Russian crude imports to China have risen in early 2017 as the country's independent, or teapot, refiners have expanded their diet to include the Urals grade, trade sources said on Tuesday. Russia could expand its market share in China, the second-largest oil consumer, this year after a drop in Brent prices relative to Middle East crude benchmark Dubai opened the arbitrage for Russian Urals to head east. Russia topped Saudi Arabia as the biggest crude seller to China in 2016. Shandong Wonfull Petrochemical Group bought about 2 million barrels of Urals crude for delivery in February and May, two sources with knowledge of the matter told Reuters. click Read More below for more of the story
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Oil fell for a third day on Wednesday, nearing $50 a barrel for the first time in three weeks, as investors grew increasingly doubtful that OPEC members will agree to cut output and as U.S. inventories staged a surprisingly large increase. Iraq, the second-largest member of OPEC, does not want to join in with a proposed production cut that the group has said it will approve at a regular meeting in Vienna next month. With Iran, Nigeria and Libya already expected to be excluded, along with potentially Venezuela and Indonesia, whose state oil producer said on Tuesday it was targeting a 42-percent increase in output next year, traders and investors are growing less confident in the chances for an effective deal.
Oil prices slid on Monday after non-OPEC producers made no specific commitment to join OPEC in limiting oil output levels to prop up prices, suggesting they want the oil producing group to solve its differences first. Officials and experts from OPEC countries and non-OPEC nations including Azerbaijan, Brazil, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Oman and Russia met for consultations in Vienna on Saturday and only agreed to meet again in November before a scheduled regular OPEC meeting on Nov. 30, they said in a statement. London Brent crude for December delivery LCOc1 was down 38 cents at $49.33 a barrel by 1047 GMT after settling down 76 cents on Friday.