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China crude oil imports increase in July as state refiners return from turnarounds

August 10/2021

MOSCOW (MRC) -- China's crude oil imports rebounded in July from a six-month low as state-backed refiners ramped up output after returning from maintenance, though independent refineries slowed restocking amid probes by Beijing into trading and taxes, reported Reuters.

China brought in 41.24 million tonnes of crude oil last month, equivalent to 9.71 million barrels per day (bpd), data from the General Administration of Customs showed on Saturday. That compares with 40.14 million tonnes in June and 51.29 million tonnes in July 2020.

In the first seven months of the year, China, the world's top crude oil importer, took in 301.83 million tonnes, or 10.39 million bpd, down 5.6% from the corresponding period last year.

"With state-owned refineries completing overhauls, the number of refineries resuming operation is gradually increasing," said analysts at China-based Longzhong consultancy, while adding that overall utilisation rates have not seen a significant jump.

Operating rates at independent refiners in refining hub Shandong, however, showed a clear downtrend in the last month, with the average rate hitting the lowest level this year at 63% in late July.

Analysts had expected that Beijing's crackdown on the misuse of import quotas and the impact of higher crude prices could see China's oil import growth sink to the lowest in two decades in 2021.

China in June cut 35% of crude oil import quotas to non-state refiners in a second batch of allowances for 2021, in which several small refiners did not receive any quotas.

Customs data on Saturday also showed China exported 4.64 million tonnes of refined oil products in July, up 44.5% from a year ago but down 28.0% from June. Natural gas imports, including piped and liquefied natural gas (LNG) were at 9.34 million tonnes last month, up 27.1% on year, the data showed.

As MRC wrote before, earlier this year, Sinopec Engineering (Group) and ExxonMobil (Huizhou) Chemical (EMHCC) entered into a BEPC (basic design, engineering, procurement and construction) contract for the proposed Huizhou Chemical Complex Project (Phase I). The main units of the project include a 1.6 million tonnes/year ethylene flexible feed steam cracker, downstream polymer and derivative units and utilities. The main product units include two performance polyethylene (PE) lines and two differentiated performance polypropylene (PP) lines.

Ethylene and propylene are the main feedstocks for the production of polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP), respectively.

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, Russia's estimated PE consumption totalled 953,400 tonnes in the first five months of 2021, which virtually corresponded to the same figure a year earlier. High density polyethylene (HDPE) shipments decreased. At the same time, PP shipments to the Russian market were 607,8900 tonnes in January-May 2021, up by 33% year on year. Shipments of homopolymer PP and PP block copolymers increased, whereas deliveries of PP random copolymers decreased.
Author:Margaret Volkova
Tags:crude and gaz condensate, propylene, ethylene, gas processing, petrochemistry, Exxon Mobil, Sinopec, China.
Category:General News
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