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Low Oil Prices See China’s Oil Output Shrink 7.4%

China produced 7.4 percent less domestic crude oil in May compared to a year ago, settling at 16.76 million tonnes. This was due to plans by state-owned oil companies to slash output that is weighed down by languishing oil prices, official data showed.

Output for the first five months of 2016 totaled at 84.19 million tonnes, down 4 percent from the same period the previous year, the National Development and Reform Commission said in a statement on Saturday.

Much of China’s oil production comes from large oilfields that are mature and facing declining output. More investment helps to slow decline, but significant capex cuts are allowing production to slip. Investment in China’s oil sector fell from $54.4 billion in 2014 to just $39.4 billion last year, and likely will fall to $33.5 billion in 2016.

However, refined crude oil rose 9.8 percent to 214.33 million tons year-on-year, while production of refined oil products inched up 8 percent to 133.33 million tonnes with product consumption up 3.5 percent to 118.51 million tonnes.

In the same period, natural gas output came in at 57.6 billion cubic meters, up 3.9 percent, together with imports at 29.8 cubic meters, which surged 20.4 percent and consumption at 85.4 billion cubic meters, up 10.6 percent. Related: Russia-German Pipeline May Break Europe’s Energy Union

Meanwhile, last Friday Xinhua News Agency’s May-end data showed China’s commercial crude oil inventories crawled up 0.86 percent from a month earlier.

The report also stated that the world’s fourth largest oil producer’s May import (32.24 million tonnes) and domestic production (16.87 million tonnes) recorded a total crude availability of 49.11 million tonnes.

By James Burgess for Oilprice.com

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