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Sinopec Group Boosts Oil Processing 40% in Five Years

China Petrochemical Corp. said it increased oil processing volume by 40 percent in the past five years, becoming the world’s second-largest refiner as the nation’s fuel demand surges.

Oil processing at its refineries rose to an estimated 208 million metric tons this year (4.2 million barrels a day) from 149 million tons in 2005, China Petrochemical, or Sinopec Group, said in a statement in a company newsletter today. Annual capacity will climb to 228 million tons by the end of this year, Huang Wensheng, a company spokesman, said by telephone from Beijing today.

The state refiner added 70.8 million tons of annual refining capacity over the past five years, or a yearly increase of 7.1 percent. That is more than double the pace of the preceding five years, it said.

Sinopec Group, the parent of China Petroleum & Chemical Corp, spent more than 17.4 billion yuan ($2.6 billion) from 2005 to 2009 building new refining units or upgrading existing facilities to improve fuel quality, it said in the statement.

The company’s crude output may increase to 42.6 million tons this year, up 8 percent from 2005, and natural gas production may almost double to 12.2 billion cubic meters, Sinopec Group said in a statement on its website dated yesterday.

The company added 1.3 billion tons of proven crude reserves and 658.7 billion cubic meters of gas reserves over the past five years, it said.

Exxon Mobil Corp., the world’s largest refiner, has distillation capacity of 6.3 million barrels a day, according to its website. Royal Dutch Shell Plc’s operable crude distillation capacity was 3.64 million barrels a day at the end of 2009, according to its annual report. It said in March that it plans to reduce capacity by 15 percent.

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