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China’s Oct crude imports 3rd highest pace this year

China’s crude oil imports in October rose 13.8 per cent from a year earlier to about 5.58 million barrels per day, the third-highest pace this year, customs data showed, as refiners ramped up output to replenish stocks and as new facilities came onstream.

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 10 November, 2012, 1:13pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 10 November, 2012, 1:13pm

China’s crude oil imports in October rose 13.8 per cent from a year earlier to about 5.58 million barrels per day, the third-highest pace this year, customs data showed, as refiners ramped up output to replenish stocks and as new facilities came onstream.

China, the world’s largest crude importer after the United States, shipped in 23.68 million tonnes of crude oil last month, data from the General Administration of Customs showed on Saturday.

The barrels per day imports were 14 per cent higher than in September.

For the first 10 months, China bought 7.1 per cent more than a year earlier, at 224.07 million tonnes, or about 5.36 million bpd, the data showed.

Two new crude units with a combined capacity of 240,000 bpd started last month -- one in northeast China’s Daqing, run by PetroChina and a second in eastern Shandong province.

That appeared to have offset production cuts at several Sinopec plants, which were forced to halt or reduce runs due to environmental problems.

Growth in crude imports outpaced growth in China’s refinery crude throughput, indicating some of the imported barrels ended up in storage.

Sinopec, Asia’s largest refiner, has lifted full contract volumes of crude from Saudi Arabia since September after cutting volumes for July and August on refinery maintenance, traders have said.

Sinopec also resumed imports of Iranian condensate from September, traders said.

However, Iranian crude volumes received by China have been below contracted levels since September, because Iran’s tanker fleet, the sole transporter of its crude to China, has been struggling to meet delivery schedules, trade sources have said.

Iran, grappling with tough Western sanctions targeting its energy and petrochemical sectors, has delayed loading of some shipments for September, October and November to China, its largest oil customer and top trading partner.

China may cut petrol and diesel retail prices later this month, which would be the fourth cut in fuel prices this year, as a basket of crude oil prices is nearing a trigger point.

 

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