China Boosts Oil Processing as Plants Resume After Maintenance

  • Refinery runs increase 2.6% to 10.7 million barrels/day in Nov
  • Utilization rates at major plants rebound in Nov. from Oct.

China’s crude processing climbed to a record after some refineries resumed operations following maintenance.

Refineries in the world’s second-largest oil consumer processed 43.92 million metric tons of crude last month, 3.3 percent higher than a year earlier, according to data released Saturday by the Beijing-based National Bureau of Statistics. That’s about 10.73 million barrels a day and up 2.6 percent, on a daily basis, from October. Last record was June’s 10.59 million barrels a day.

Higher oil processing in China coincided with record oil-product exports in November as refiners tapped overseas markets to reduce fuel stockpiles. Net fuel exports rose for a fifth month to 2.22 million tons last month, 77 percent higher than the previous month.

“For refineries, processing more oil is good for their margins, but in the meantime, they need to be able to sell,” Jean Zou, an analyst with ICIS China, said before the data were released. “They may keep their runs high as long as they can find export markets for their products.”

China Petroleum & Chemical Corp. restarted Yangzi refinery’s crude-distillation unit at the end of October, while Sinochem Group’s Quanzhou plant boosted runs to more than 80 percent of capacity last month following maintenance, industry website Oilchem.net said.

China’s power production last month rose 0.1 percent from a year earlier to 466 billion kilowatt hours, Saturday’s data showed. China’s crude output fell 0.5 percent from a year earlier to 17.66 million tons, while natural gas production climbed 0.2 percent to 11.1 billion cubic meters. Coal output declined 2.7 percent to about 320 million tons.

— With assistance by Jing Yang

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