MOSCOW, 7 Sep — PRIME. China’s crude oil imports fell 9.4% in August from the same period last year, the General Administration of Customs said on Wednesday. Outages at state-owned refineries (refineries) and lower private refinery workloads caused by low margins limited buying.
According to the data, in August China imported 40.35 million tons of oil (about 9.5 million barrels per day).
In July, crude oil imports amounted to 8.79 million barrels per day, and in August 2021 – 10.49 million barrels per day.
The total import of oil for the first 8 months amounted to 330.18 million tons (about 9.92 million barrels per day), which is 4.7% lower compared to the same period last year. Prolonged quarantine restrictions have weakened the demand for fuel.
Temporary interruptions in the work of refineries last month also affected the volume of imports.
The Sinopec Shanghai Petrochemical Corp refinery, with a capacity of 320,000 barrels per day, partially restored work only in mid-August after an unplanned downtime for more than seven weeks. Wepec, a 200,000 bbl/d facility, began reopening in late August after about three months of maintenance work.
The average workload of private refineries in Shandong province in August was just under 65% against about 70% in July. This is due to routine maintenance at processing plants and a decrease in profitability, JLC noted.
Sinopec Corp predicts a recovery in fuel demand in the second half of the year. However, oil refining by this enterprise in June-December is expected to remain almost unchanged compared to the first half of 2022.
According to the data, the export of oil products from China in August rose to 4.78 million tons (the highest since June 2021) against 3.41 million tons in July, which is associated with additional export quotas.
Since the beginning of the year, exports have decreased by 33.5% compared to the same period last year, to 29.82 million tons.
Imports of natural gas through pipelines and in the form of liquefied natural gas (LNG) in China in August amounted to 8.85 million tons, which is 15.2% lower compared to the same period last year, despite the start of restocking ahead of the winter heating season .
Gas imports in the first 8 months of 2022 fell by 10.2% to 71.05 million tons.
Record high LNG spot prices, which broke through the $70 per MMBtu mark, scared off Chinese importers, especially given the slowdown in domestic demand growth against the backdrop of lower economic activity.