Oil prices increased today after China’s crude oil imports rose 13% in December, creating demand for the oil in near future.

According to Reuters, Brent crude increased by 37 cents to $106.76 a barrel, while US crude gained 81 cents to $92.47 a barrel.

Chinese General Administration of Customs data revealed that China’s crude imports increased 13% to 6.31 million barrels per day in December compared to year ago.

Chinese crude import growth was 4% in 2013, while 6.8% in 2012 as demand was hit by a slowing economy.

China imported 26.78 million tonnes of crude last month, signaling a spike in crude demand from the second biggest oil consumer.

Crude consumption was 10.1% greater than November’s 5.73mmbpd, as two big refineries owned by Sinopec restarted after planned overhauls.

Higher demand for oil from China’s fast-industrialising economy has helped push oil prices to record levels over the past decade.

But the crude prices decreased in the early session under supply impact, Saudi Arabia increased output last month to 9.819mmbpd, from 9.745 million bpd in November.

Libya is now producing around 650,000bpd of oil following the restart of the El Sharara field at the weekend, with the first exports from the western port of Zawiya expected to load around 10-12 January.

Oversupply concerns however were balanced by ongoing unrest at Libya where ports were seized by protesters.

Image: China’s crude oil imports rose 4% in 2013. Photo: courtesy of Lamnee.

Nri energy