According to trade flow data from Refinitiv Eikon, Asia imported an average of 1.07 million barrels per day of oil from Brazil in the first half of this year, a 30% increase compared to the previous year. Asian ports received a record 1.62 million bpd in Oil from Brazil in June, almost triple the volume in July 2019.
In addition, refineries in Asia also have an appetite for the type of low-sulfur oil that Brazil sells, which comes from pre-salt reservoirs, where Petrobras and other large oil companies are investing hundreds of billions of dollars in production development.
Market operators told Reuters that Petrobras offered refineries in Asia agreements for their relatively high-quality oil, just as China and some countries reopened their economies and others were entering lockdowns. In April, for example, the state-owned company exported more than 1 million bpd to Asia, or 145% above the same month in 2019, with about two-thirds of the volume destined for China.
In a statement to Reuters, the company said China is now the destination of 70 percent of the oil exported by the country. "If we had more oil available, China would have bought it," said the company's president, Roberto Castello Branco, who also said there was no way to increase exports further because demand in Brazil was also recovering.