China’s oil imports hit record in 2020 due to storage, new refineries

By Muyu Xu and Chen Aizhu

BEIJING / SINGAPORE, Jan 14 (Reuters) – China’s total crude imports rose 7.3% in 2020 despite the impact of the coronavirus earlier in the year, with record arrivals in the second and third quarters as refineries they expanded their operations and low prices encouraged warehousing, data showed Thursday.

By 2020, the top global oil buyer acquired a record 542.4 tons of crude, or 10.85 million barrels per day (bpd).

The robust flows were driven by numerous purchases from refineries, as well as independent storage operators, after prices plunged to their lowest level in decades at the start of the year amid strong local demand.

December shipments reached 38.47 million tonnes, or about 9.06 million bpd, according to data released Thursday by the General Administration of Customs.

That represents a drop of about 15% from the previous year and also down from 11.04 million bpd in November, in part, due to the independent refineries exhausting their import quotas after numerous purchases made. performed previously in the year.

In the future, the arrivals should gain strength again after the allocation of new quotas, which were 18% higher than the previous year in the first round of 2021.

“This, coupled with increased demand from state-owned refineries, should result in a large increase in crude arrivals in January-February from December levels,” said Chen Jiyao, China’s chief customer adviser for China. FGE.

The expansion of state-owned refineries and the launch of new facilities by the private Zhejiang Petrochemical Corp strengthened China’s appetite for fossil fuel.

Customs data also showed that natural gas imports, including fuel supplied as liquefied natural gas (LNG) and by pipeline, reached a record 11.23 million tonnes in December, as a severe winter and surprising recovery manufacturing boosted energy demand.

Gas imports for the year increased 5.3% to a record 101.66 million tons.

(1 ton = 7.3 barrels for oil conversion)

(Report by Muyu Xu in Beijing and Chen Aizhu in Singapore; Edited in Spanish by Ricardo Figueroa)

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