|Dmitry Medvedev/Hu Jintao at ESPO Pipeline Ceremony (Kremlin/Wikimedia)|
Russia and China's Energy Dispute and the Struggle for Eurasian Dominance
China's voracious appetite for energy from anywhere has led most oil-producing nations to attempt to feed the dragon, including Russia.
But a curious situation has developed as regards Russian oil exports to the Celestial Kingdom, underlining that the two nations, which fought for global supremacy over the Communist movement for four decades, remain at best, "frenemies."
According to Chinese customs reports, last month oil imports from Russia fell by nearly half.
Not so, Rosneft says, stating that deliveries are proceeding through the Eastern Siberia-Pacific Ocean (ESPO) oil pipeline at their normal levels.
Russia is now China's ninth largest source of oil imports, with Saudi Arabia first, Iran second and Angola third.
In trying to read the tea leaves in the contradictory statements emanating from Beijing and Rosneft, Russian analysts believe that China is sending Moscow a not so subtle signal that it can do without Russian imports.
The Eastern Siberia-Pacific Ocean oil pipeline began deliveries to China last January, at a volume of 300,000 barrels a day. Last month China imported 4.58 million barrels per day, with Russian imports making up a mere 6.5 percent of the total.