China’s daily crude oil imports fell in May after reaching a record high the previous month, as refining capacity dropped the most this year due to maintenance.
Net overseas purchases were 26.08 million metric tons, according to data released by the General Administration of Customs in Beijing today. That’s about 6.17 million barrels a day, declining from a record 6.81 million in April.
Crude-processing capacity in China, the world’s second-largest oil consumer, dropped 3.93 million metric tons in May, the sharpest plunge this year, according to ICIS-C1, a commodities researcher based in Shanghai. The decline was even greater than in April, when capacity fell 3.1 million metric tons as more than 80 of the nation’s biggest refineries were taken off-line. Plants in China typically conduct maintenance in the second quarter before fuel consumption peaks during summer.
PetroChina Co. halted the Dalian refinery, its largest by capacity at 20 million metric tons a year, from April 10 to May 24 for seasonal repairs, an official said on May 28. China Petroleum & Chemical Corp., known as Sinopec, closed the 11.5 million-metric ton Changling plant from March 18 to May 15 and is carrying out upgrading and expansion work at its 8 million-metric ton Shijiazhuang facility between April and July.