Chinese officials have met with representatives of state-held and independent refiners to explore ways to alleviate the energy crisis in the world’s top crude oil importer, Bloomberg reported on Friday, quoting sources with knowledge of the talks.
Officials at the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), China’s planning body, asked refiners in a meeting last week whether they would be able to import more diesel, produce more fuel, or purchase crude oil at reasonable prices, according to Bloomberg’s sources.
No decisions on specific policies have been immediately made, the sources added.
In recent weeks, China has been grappling with an energy crisis with coal shortages, power outages, and most recently, diesel rationing.
Reports emerged this week that Chinese gas stations had started to limit diesel sales as supplies tighten for the oil product that has benefited the most from the record high coal and natural gas prices.
Diesel can be used in generators for power as China is struggling with electricity outages. But diesel is also the main fuel for long-haul heavy-duty trucks, and shortages in China could mean that another disruption is coming to global supply chains.
The diesel rationing at Chinese gas stations comes as the world’s second-largest economy is grappling with a power crisis amid shortages of coal and sky-high price of natural gas in Asia.
Power cuts and outages threaten the pace of the economic growth in China and the global supply chains, many of which originate in the country.
Many factories in Chinese export hub Yiwu in the Zhejiang province have reduced output because of the power outages, South China Morning Post reported on Wednesday.
Surging coal prices and power shortages in China slowed the growth of its economy in the third quarter and are now threatening to spill over to the global supply chains in the fourth quarter.
By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com
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