China Oil refineries hit record low since 2001

China Oil refineries hit record low since 2001

China’s oil refinery throughput fell 3.4% year on year in 2022, the first annual decline since 2001, as the country’s strict COVID-19 controls weighed on the economy and fuel consumption.

According to data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), refiners processed 675.9 million tonnes of crude oil last year, [about 13.5 million barrels per day (bpd)]. According to NBS data, processing fell 0.3% in 2001 compared to the previous year.

The NBS reported that crude throughput in December increased 2.5% year on year to 59.88 million tonnes, [14.1 million bpd], the second-highest amount of 2022 on a daily basis, as refiners ramped up production to use up fuel export quotas.

This is slightly lower than the previous month’s figure of 14.5 million bpd and the record figure of 14.8 million bpd in June 2021.

Following eight months of year-on-year declines between January and August, refinery processing began to recover in September, as the government changed its fuel trade policy by issuing a large set of quotas to boost exports.

Fourth-quarter refined fuel exports, which include diesel, gasoline, aviation fuel, and marine fuel oil, increased 61% year-on-year to 18.3 million tonnes.

The commissioning of PetroChina’s new 200,000-bpd crude unit in Guangdong and Shenghong Petrochemical’s 320,000-bpd plant in Jiangsu also aided run levels in the final months of 2022.

Natural gas production in December increased 6.5% year on year to 20.4 billion cubic metres (bcm), a monthly record, according to NBS data, as state oil majors increased drilling to meet winter heating demand.

Output for 2022 increased 6.4% to a yearly record of 217.8 bcm, marking the sixth year in a row that annual output has increased by more than 10 bcm, providing a supply cushion as China reduces costly purchases of liquefied natural gas.

As companies stepped up development of more difficult reservoirs, crude oil production remained firmly above the 4 million bpd mark, a level regarded by the state-dominated sector as strategic for ensuring domestic supply security.

Last year’s output was 204.67 million tonnes, or 4.1 million bpd, up 2.9% from 2021, with December output up 2.5% on the year at 16.87 million tonnes.

(For crude conversion, one tonne equals 7.3 barrels.)




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