China’s crude processing is poised to climb 2.5% in the next three months from the previous quarter amid reduced refinery maintenance, according to industry analyst forecasts.
By JING YANG
China regained its status from the US as the world’s biggest crude oil importer as shipments surged to fill the Asian country’s strategic petroleum reserves.
Overseas purchases by China rose to 29.49 million metric tons in June, a 27% increase from May when shipments were the least since February 2014, according to preliminary data released by the Beijing-based General Administration of Customs on Monday. That’s equivalent to about 7.2 million bpd, Bloomberg calculations show. US crude imports last month averaged 7.08 million bpd, according to data from the Energy Information Administration.
China’s crude imports rose as it began filling the second phase of emergency reserves in the eastern city of Qingdao that have a capacity of 3 million cubic meters (about 19 million bbl). Oil imports may climb in the third quarter from the previous three months as another storage site in the southern Chinese city of Huizhou is scheduled to open, according to ICIS China, a Shanghai-based commodity researcher.
“Filling of the strategic reserves in Qingdao definitely played a part in the increase,” said Amy Sun, an analyst with ICIS China. “China will overtake the US as a permanent top crude importer in a year or two.” Read more here