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March oil storage increased in China

April 21/2021

MOSCOW (MRC) -- China boosted the flow of crude oil into storage tanks in March as strong imports and domestic output exceeded an increase in the volume of fuel being processed by refiner, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

About 1.63 million barrels per day (bpd) of crude was directed into commercial and strategic inventories last month, up from about 920,000 bpd in the first two months of 2021, according to calculations based on official data. The increase in storage was mainly a reflection of rising crude imports in March, which reached 11.69 million bpd, above the 11.08 million bpd reported by customs for the first two months of the year.

Domestic crude output was also higher in March at 4.02 million bpd, up 3.3% from the same month last year, and also above the 3.89 million bpd in the first two months of 2021. China doesn't disclose the volumes of crude flowing into strategic and commercial stockpiles. But an estimate can be made by deducting the amount of crude processed from the total amount of crude available from imports and domestic output.

China's refineries processed 59.79 million tonnes of crude in March, equivalent to about 14.08 million bpd, according to data issued by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) on April 16. This was slightly below the 14.13 million bpd from January and February, but 19.7% above what was processed in March last year.

However, caution is warranted with year-on-year comparisons given that China's economy was largely locked down in March last year as the authorities moved to combat the spread of the coronavirus. Putting crude imports together with domestic production results in about 15.71 million bpd of oil being available to refiners, leaving a gap of 1.63 million bpd once the throughput is subtracted.

The volume of crude being stored in March was above the recent trend, given that inventory flows for the whole of 2020 were about 1.29 million bpd. Last year was notable for storage inflows as China snapped up large volumes of crude when prices plunged during the coronavirus pandemic, which coincided with a brief price war between top exporters Saudi Arabia and Russia.

China imported so much crude in the middle part of last year that it resulted in long vessel queues outside ports, as the world's biggest crude buyers struggled to offload cargoes. By the end of last year Chinese refiners tapered imports as they exhausted permits, resulting in rare inventory draws in October and December.

As per MRC, Chinas daily refinery throughput surged 19.7% in March from a year earlier, as refiners ramped up operations to meet robust fuel demand and to build up inventory before shutting down for overhaul. China processed 59.79 million tons of crude oil last month, data issued by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed on Friday. That is equivalent to 14.08 million barrels per day (bpd), easing off 14.13 million bpd averaged in the first two months.

Ethylene and propylene are feedstocks for producing polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP).

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, Russia's estimated polyethylene (PE) consumption totalled 356,370 tonnes in the first two month of 2021, down by 9% year on year. Shipments of exclusively low density polyethylene (LDPE) increased. At the same time, polypropylene (PP) shipments to the Russian market was 246,870 tonnes in January-February 2021, up by 30% year on year. Supply of homopolymer PP and PP block copolymers increased.
Author:Anna Larionova
Tags:petroleum products, crude oil, PP, PE, neftegaz, petrochemistry, China, Russia.
Category:General News
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