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China Reports Record Refinery Output in 2023

Refineries in China processed record volumes of crude oil last year, with the average at 14.7 million barrels per day, which was a 9.3% increase on the year.

In 2022, a year when refinery throughputs registered a rare decline, the daily average stood at 13.5 million bpd, Reuters noted in a report citing official data from the Chinese National Bureau of Statistics.

In December alone, the annual increase in throughput was 11%, the data also showed, despite reports arguing that China’s record crude oil imports did not necessarily lead to more fuel production.

It appears that they did, and they also pushed up the output of petrochemicals, leading to a virgin plastics glut that made recycling unprofitable. China accounted for close to two-thirds of the global petrochemical capacity increase, according to data from S&P Global cited by the Financial Times earlier this week.

Meanwhile, refiners took advantage of strong demand for fuels from overseas, with state-owned majors benefiting from this demand, especially in jet fuel and diesel, Reuters noted in its report.

China last year became the country with the largest refining capacity in the world after several new refineries began operations. Yet the capacity expansion is not stopping. The International Energy Agency forecast last year that total refining capacity in China will reach 19.7 million bpd in 2028—when the IEA expects oil and gas demand to peak globally.

Last year’s performance of Chinese refiners was driven by record imports of crude oil and also record domestic production. Crude oil imports jumped by 11% year-on-year to 11.28 million barrels per day (bpd) in 2023, according to data from the General Administration of Customs. Oil production at home reached 208 million tons in total, or 3 million tons more than in 2022. The daily average came in at around 4.2 million barrels.

By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com


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  • Cihan on January 17 2024 said:
    China should also punish these analysts who are touting that the economy has slowed down and oil demand has decreased. These men have broken a new record.

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