China Nov crude imports up 18 pct on yr, fuel exports at record


China’s crude oil imports rebounded strongly in November from the previous month and were up 18 percent on a year ago, while exports of refined fuel hit a record high as refiners rushed to ease an expanding domestic surplus.

November crude oil imports at 32.35 million tonnes, or about 7.87 million barrels per day (bpd), up sharply from both 6.65 million bpd a year ago and 6.78 million bpd in October, data from the General Administration of Customs showed.

China’s fuel imports have risen since Beijing in the second half of 2015 started to allow some 17 independent refineries, better known as teapots, to import crude oil for the first time to compete with state-owned majors.

Purchases by the world’s second-largest crude oil importer hit a record high 8.04 million bpd in September.

Imports for the first 11 months rose 14 percent to 344.63 million tonnes, or 7.53 million bpd, which represents an incremental purchase of nearly 925,000 bpd.

“The rebound in November crude imports versus October came as some teapots newly granted with quotas started to bring in cargoes. Also, there could be some delays in cargo clearances that spilled from October into November because of the holiday week in October,” said Seng Yick Tee of consultancy SIA Energy.

“Overall, China’s incremental crude oil imports this year are in line with our estimates.”

According to Thomson Reuters Research and Forecasts, independent refiners raised their purchases last month to around 4.25 million tonnes, or 1.03 million bpd, up 17 percent from October.

That was probably due to more quotas becoming available as the government has released about 7.5 million tonnes of annual import quotas to three independent plants since late September.

Teapots are set to raise their crude oil imports again in 2017 on expectations that Beijing will keep their intake quotas steady, a move that should help eat up some of the global supply glut.

At the same time, China’s refined oil products exports hit a record high at 4.85 million tonnes, up 18.3 percent on year, as refiners continued to ship more cargoes overseas to remove a domestic surplus.

State refiners are the dominant fuel exporters as they have faced competition from teapots adding to record refinery output. The teapots, which lack terminals and pipeline facilities, remain a minor exporter.

Source: Reuters

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