September 25, 2017, 3:23 am
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Independent plants help increase China June oil refinery throughput

BEIJING- China’s oil refineries increased throughput in June to their second highest on record, with some independent plants raising output even as state oil majors prepare to take drastic steps to cut production during the peak summer season.

Throughput last month reached 46.08 million tons, or 11.21 million barrels per day (bpd), a 2.3-percent rise year-on-year and up from May’s 10.98 million bpd, data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed on Monday.

The number was just short of December’s record-peak of 11.26 million bpd.

The higher throughput came after another month of strong crude oil imports and came as top refineries prepared to cut output in the third quarter.

For the first six months, refinery production in the world’s second-largest fuel consumer gained 3 percent from a year earlier to 275.21 million tons, or about 11.1 million bpd.

The NBS data on Monday also showed domestic crude oil output fell 2.3 percent last month versus a year ago to 16.21 million tons, or 3.94 million bpd, but up from May’s 3.83 million bpd.

Output during the January-June period was down 5.1 percent on-year at about 3.89 million bpd.

Declines in China’s crude oil output have slowed as major oil producers raised spending to boost production as oil prices stabilized in a $48-$55 per barrel range, and analysts have forecast flat or positive production growth for calendar 2017.

Natural gas output climbed 14.6 percent in June from a year earlier to 11.5 billion cubic metres (bcm), but marked the lowest level since October.

Natural gas production increased 8 percent from a year earlier to 74.1 bcm for the January-June period, the data showed.

China’s gas consumption growth has been quickening since the start of this year after a nearly three-year lull, according to analysts, thanks to stronger demand from industrial and power sectors under a government push to wean them off their coal addiction. 

Meanwhile, China’s coal production rose 10.6 percent to 308 million tons in June from a year ago, data showed on Monday, as miners ramped up output to meet a pick-up in demand during the hot summer months, data from the National Statistics Bureau showed.

Authorities have called for coal miners to boost output to ensure power supplies as people crank up air conditioners with a prolonged heatwave hitting across the country.

Heavy rainfall has also slashed hydropower capacity in the south, helping boost demand for coal-fired electricity.

Thermal coal prices have surged this year, hitting a fresh record of 614.6 yuan ($90.81) a ton in early trading on Monday.

The country has fulfilled 65 percent of its target for capacity cutbacks on outdated coal capacity.

The National Statistics Bureau also showed coke output fell 1.4 percent in June from a year ago to 38.16 million tons.

The most-traded coke futures on the Dalian Commodity Exchange has gained 32 percent this year. – Reuters 

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