China’s Crude Processing Rises Most in 15 Months Amid Expansion

China’s oil processing rose in September at the fastest pace in 15 months as companies including China Petroleum & Chemical Corp. boosted capacity to meet demand in the world’s second-largest consumer.

Refiners processed 42.02 million metric tons of crude, or about 10.3 million barrels a day, data from the National Bureau of Statistics in Beijing show today. That’s a 9.1 percent gain from a year earlier, the most since June 2013.

“The expansion in refining capacity supported oil processing,” Jean Zou, an analyst at ICIS-C1 Energy, a Shanghai-based consultant, said by phone from Guangzhou. “Some refineries that began operations earlier this year are now at full speed.”

China Petroleum, Asia’s biggest refiner known as Sinopec, said it completed the expansion of its northern Shijiazhuang plant on Sept. 4, almost doubling the capacity to 8 million tons a year. PetroChina Co.’s Sichuan facility, which started production in January, raised runs to 91 percent last month from 70 percent, while Sinochem Group’s Quanzhou unit boosted utilization to 75 percent from 65 percent, ICIS-C1 Energy said.

China trails only the U.S. in oil demand globally, according to the International Energy Agency in Paris. The Asian nation will import as much as 26 million tons a month of crude in the fourth quarter, forecasts ICIS-C1 Energy.

Crude production in September climbed 1 percent from a year earlier to 17.16 million tons, while natural gas output increased 8.8 percent to 9.5 billion cubic meters, the statistics bureau’s data show.

— With assistance by Jing Yang

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