Refining in China, the world’s second-largest oil consumer, dropped to 9.36 million barrels a day in April, according to the National Bureau of Statistics. The rate is 8% below December’s record and the lowest since August 2012. The fall is due in part to sluggish growth in the nation’s industrial production sector, as well as a series of planned maintenance shutdowns.
Apparent oil demand, or throughput plus net imports, slumped to 9.66 million barrels a day in April, causing Sinopec, Asia’s largest refiner, to cut processing by 1.5 million metric tons. As the price of oil continues to fall, China has seized the opportunity to shore up reserves by creating large fuel stockpiles, which may also play a part in skewing some of the data.
According to oilchem.net, China’s largest refineries have reduced their average operating rate to 80%, compared to 88% in February. PetroChina had closed its crude distillation unit at Dalian, its largest refinery with a 4.5m tons-per-year capacity, as of March 15.
Published 24th May, 2013
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