China Pumps Crude at Fastest Pace Since 2010 as Oil Prices Climb

China is pumping crude at the fastest pace in more than two and a half years as explorers in the world’s second-largest oil consumer seek to profit from rising prices.

The country produced 17.44 million metric tons of crude last month, figures from the National Bureau of Statistics in Beijing show. That’s equivalent to 4.26 million barrels a day, the highest rate since November 2010 when output reached 4.28 million barrels a day, according to Bloomberg calculations based on the data.

“Oil fields boosted production as international prices have jumped,” Gong Jinshuang, a Beijing-based senior engineer at China National Petroleum Corp., the nation’s biggest oil company, said by phone today.

China’s production growth is coinciding with an increase in benchmark crude prices. Oil futures traded in New York have gained 16 percent in 2013, surging above $100 a barrel this month as unrest in Egypt fanned concern that Middle East shipments may be disrupted. The U.S., the world’s biggest oil user, yesterday reported its own output rising to 7.49 million barrels a day, the highest since December 1990.

China’s largest oil producers have boosted exploration since the start of this year, according to Gong. In the first quarter, PetroChina Co. produced 231 million barrels of crude, 1.8 percent more than in same period last year, the company’s quarterly report shows. China Petroleum & Chemical Corp. pumped 82.17 million in the three months, up 0.8 percent, while Cnooc Ltd. yielded 76.5 million, an increase of 20 percent.

— With assistance by Sarah Chen

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