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Russia more than doubled its LPG exports to China in 2022 -data

FILE PHOTO: A view shows tanks for liquefied petroleum gases (LPG) at an Irkutsk Oil Company-owned facility in Irkutsk Region

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia more than doubled its rail exports of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) to China in 2022 as part of the Kremlin's drive to diversify its energy export sales, Reuters analysis based on data from industry sources showed on Thursday.

Traders said the boost was mainly due to a rise in deliveries from the Irkutsk Oil Company (INK) after it launched its Ust-Kut gas processing plant in eastern Siberia.

Exports to China rose to 147,100 tonnes from 62,600 a year earlier, the data showed.

LPG, or propane and butane, is mainly used as fuel for cars, heating and to produce other petrochemicals. Almost all Russia's LPG exports to China go by rail.

Other large LPG exporters, such as Gazprom, Rosneft, Lukoil, Tatneft and Sibur, have redirected their supplies away from Ukraine and Europe last year.

The increase also occurred as the trade with China was subdued in 2021 amid the COVID pandemic.

Traders say LPG exports from Russia to China is currently constrained by infrastructure bottlenecks, such as limited railway capacity.

(Reporting by Damir Khalmetov; writing by Vladimir Soldatkin; editing by David Evans)