China Reduces Oil Processing as Refineries Shut for Work

Updated on
  • China's refinery runs fall 1% to 10.37 million barrels a day
  • China 3Q GDP grows 6.9% from year earlier, slowest since 2009

China’s crude oil processing in September fell from the previous month as refiners shut for seasonal maintenance amid an economic slowdown.

Refineries processed 42.43 million metric tons of crude last month, or about 10.37 million barrels a day, according to data released Monday by the Beijing-based National Bureau of Statistics. That’s down 1 percent from August and the lowest since July on a daily basis.

The shutdowns come amid slowing economic expansion in the world’s second-biggest oil user. Gross domestic product in the three months through September grew 6.9 percent from a year earlier, the slowest quarterly pace since the first three months of 2009, based on previously announced data. China’s apparent oil demand last month fell 1.8 percent to 10.16 million barrels a day, the second-lowest in 11 months, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

“It’s peak season for refinery maintenance,” Gao Jian, an analyst with SCI International, a Shandong-based energy consultant, said by phone. “Plants are also curbing their runs because of pressure from high stockpiles of refined products.”

Net oil product exports climbed to the highest in 11 months in September while crude imports rose 8.6 percent from the previous month to 6.83 million barrels a day, customs data showed last week.

Refinery Maintenance

China Petroleum & Chemical Corp., the nation’s largest refiner, shut its 5 million ton-a-year Qingdao refinery in mid-September for two months and PetroChina Co.’s similarly sized Hohhot refinery in northwestern China has been undergoing work since August, according to Oilchem.net.

China’s power output last month fell 3 percent from a year earlier to 454.8 billion kilowatt hours, the data released Monday showed. China’s crude output rose 2.7 percent from a year earlier to 17.74 million tons while natural gas production climbed 1.1 percent to 9.6 billion cubic meters, according to the NBS data.

— With assistance by Jing Yang

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