China's Oil Stock Increase May Raise Trade Conflict with US

China should boost its strategic oil purchase pace by almost 30 percent this year compared to 2017, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said on Friday, and its intent to build stocks could boost trade tensions with the United States.

The world's largest oil importer has spent the past 15 years creating what the IEA calls the "most ambitious strategic oil reserves program in the world" since the 1970s.

But its pace of purchases fell by half last year, according to the IEA, due to technical problems and "reduced urgency in an era of abundant supply."

In 2018, the IEA said it expects the amount of oil flowing to these locations to increase by 34.5 million barrels, or 95 thousand barrels per day (bpd), an increase of 28 percent over the 27 million barrels of 2017.

The urgency to build and fill stocks after this year may have a boost, according to the IEA, by the growing trade conflict between China and the United States – a major new oil exporter whose chairman, Donald Trump, has angered China by threatening billions of dollars in commercial tariffs.

"If the current trade tensions between the US and China increase, and given that the US is a growing supplier of crude oil to Chinese refineries, it is possible that the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) program benefits from a new impetus" , said the IEA. said. Source: Extra Newspaper