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China Annual Crude Import Sets Record for 17th Year

China Annual Crude Import Sets Record for 17th YearChina Annual Crude Import Sets Record for 17th Year

China’s crude oil imports in 2019 surged 9.5% from a year earlier, setting a record for a 17th straight year, as demand growth from new refineries built last year propelled purchases by the world’s biggest importer, data showed on Tuesday.
Last year, China imported a record 506 million tons of crude oil, 9.5% above 2018’s level. That is equivalent to 10.12 million barrels per day, according to Reuters’ calculations based on the data.
December arrivals were 45.76 million tons, equivalent to 10.78 million bpd, second only to the monthly record of 11.13 million bpd set in November.
The annual increase equates to 882,000 bpd in incremental purchases, largely because of demand from new plants that added 900,000 bpd to China’s oil-processing capacity, although some of the units started operating only in December.
December imports were boosted by private refiners using up their annual import quotas, while state plants stocked up on oil before the holiday shutdown that accompanies China’s Lunar New Year festival, which falls in late January this year.
Last year marked the biggest penetration of private chemical companies into China’s refining business, after the emergence between 2016 and 2018 of smaller independent oil processors often known as “teapots”.
Imports 2019 expanded 6.9% to 96.56 million tons, with  annual growth slowing from 31.9% recorded for 2018.
China’s gas consumption slowed last year as Beijing eased its coal-to-gas switching program amid a slowing economy and growth in domestic gas output.

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