China imported 24.35 million tonnes of oil from Russia in 2013, which accounted for half of China’s overall imports from Russia, the Chinese embassy’s plenipotentiary minister and counselor for economic affairs, Zhang Di, told Interfax.

“China imported 24.35 million tonnes of oil worth $19.74 billion in 2013, he said.

In physical terms, he said, the increase was 0.1% compared to 2012, and in value terms China’s oil imports contracted by 3.6% due to a fall in world prices.

According to the International Energy Agency, China consumed about 506 million tonnes of oil (about 10.1 million barrels per day) in 2013 and imported around 5.63 million barrels per day (overall, around 280 million tonnes).

“Oil imports in 2013 accounted for half of China’s imports from Russia,” he said. China’s overall imports from Russia reached $39.62 billion in 2013.

At the same time, China wants to broaden cooperation with Russia in the oil sector which is “one of the main areas of bilateral economic cooperation,” the Chinese diplomat said.

Zhang said that Chinese and Russian companies “have broad prospects for cooperation in prospecting and developing oil fields in Russia’s Far East and Eastern Siberia, and also in oil extraction.”

“Chinese companies are interested in such cooperation,” he said.

Before August 2013, Russia kept delivering 15 million tonnes of oil each year under an agreement with CNPC via the Skovorodino-Mohe branch of the Eastern Siberian – Pacific Ocean pipeline. The corresponding 20-year agreements were signed by Rosneft (MOEX: ROSN) and Transneft (MOEX: TRNF) in 2009, and shipments were started on January 1 2011.

In addition to this, Russia exports oil via the final point of the ESPO – the port of Kozmino, which shipped 21.3 million tonnes of oil last year.

In March 2013, Russia signed a new contract with China for increasing oil shipments to China to more than 30 million tonnes. Additional oil shipments will be provided by Rosneft. In 2013, the company planned to deliver an additional 800,000 tonnes of oil to China and it started fulfilling its obligations at the end of July.

In June 2013, Rosneft and CNPC signed a long-term contract through 2038 for oil sales on advanced payment terms, and another contract for the delivery 360 million tonnes of oil worth $270 billion to Chinese oil refineries at a pace of up to 46 million tonnes a year.