China has been found to be gaining “foolish ground” amid conflicts between the West and Russia over the invasion of Ukraine. Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post (SCMP) reported on the 21st that China is buying a large number of Russian gas, which has been blocked by U.S. and European Union sanctions against Russia, at low prices and then reselling it to Europe and Asia.
Citing data from the Customs General Office, which oversees China’s import and export customs affairs, SCMP said that China imported $2.39 billion worth of Russian natural gas from January to August this year. The amount has tripled from the same period last year.
During the same period, China exported $164 million worth of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to European countries suffering from energy shortages such as Spain, France, and Malta. It also sold $284 million worth of LNG to Asian regions such as Korea, Japan, and Thailand. Last year, China’s total LNG exports amounted to only $7 million. In response, SCMP analyzed, “While China has sharply increased gas imports, mainly in Russia, over the past eight months, Chinese energy companies are reselling the excess of LNG they bought cheaply through long-term supply contracts to the international market while market prices have risen.”
In fact, according to the Shanghai Oil and Natural Gas Exchange (SHPGX), JOVO, a private LNG importer in southern Guangdong Province, resold LNG imported in the first quarter to Italy. Bloomberg said, “State-owned energy companies such as China Petrochemical Group (Sinopec) are also selling extra LNG imported to the international market.”