Russia exported around 6.8m tons of crude oil to China in the first quarter of 2016, according to the First Deputy Energy Minister, Kirill Molodtsov, who added that the Ministry expects them to grow during the rest of the year, the news agency Tass reported.

In 2015, Russian crude oil exports to China surged by 17.5% to 26.7m tons, Molodtsov added, according to Russia and India Report. On the opposite direction, China boosted oil imports by 13% in annual terms in the first quarter of 2016 to 91.1m tons.

In recent years, Russian oil producers have been gaining momentum in the Chinese market, RT wrote. I fact, Russia surpassed Saudi Arabia as the biggest crude exporter to China in four months during 2015.

Analysts say Russia’s readiness to accept the Chinese yuan as payment for oil is one of the key tipping points. The two countries have a financial cooperation program including a three-year ruble-yuan currency swap worth more than $20b.