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PetroChina to Shut Qinghai Refinery for 20 Days

PetroChina Co., the nation’s second-biggest oil refiner, plans to shut its 1.5 million metric ton-a-year crude-processing plant in the western Qinghai province in July or August for an upgrade.

The refinery will be closed for 20 days to prepare for construction of a new hydrotreater, Zong Yiping, the general manager of PetroChina’s Qinghai subsidiary, said in an interview in Beijing today. Zong is in the capital for China’s annual parliamentary meetings.

The Qinghai facility supplies fuel to the province and the Tibet autonomous region, which had a combined population of 8.6 million people at the end of 2010, according to government data. There is currently no plan to expand the refinery’s capacity, Zong said.

The plant plans to lower crude-processing volumes to 1.4 million tons this year from 1.5 million in 2011 because of the upgrade, he said. The facility won’t be shut again before the installation of the hydrotreater, while it will close next year to connect the unit, he said. The company hasn’t fixed a date for that shutdown because of uncertainties over the pace of construction and equipment imports.

The Qinghai facility will be able to produce gasoline and diesel to the China IV and China V standards after the upgrade, Zong said. China IV and V are similar to the Euro IV and V fuel specifications.

Output from PetroChina’s oil and gas fields in Qinghai will be steady at about 7 million tons of oil equivalent this year, he said. The fields produced 7.1 million tons last year, comprising 2 million tons of oil and 6.5 billion cubic meters of natural gas, he said.

The Qinghai company plans to boost oil production to 3 million tons and gas output to as much as 9 billion cubic meters by 2015, Zong said.

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