Platts Media Center: Press Releases via Platts, December 20, 2010
China's apparent oil demand* in November surged to an all-time high of 38.09 million metric tons (mt), or an average 9.3 million barrels per day (b/d), according to a just-released Platts analysis of official data from the People’s Republic of China. This analysis is based on a data series of Chinese oil demand which Platts has been reporting since 2005.
Oil demand in November was 13.1% higher than November 2009 and was marginally higher than October's apparent oil demand at 37.88 million mt, or 8.96 million b/d.
China's apparent oil demand from January to November totaled 393.67 million mt, or an average of 8.64 million b/d, which was a 10.7% gain from the same period of 2009. This 2010 figure surpasses the total apparent oil demand last year, Platts data showed.
Crude throughput by Chinese state-owned refiners in November was at 36.65 million mt or an average of 8.96 million b/d, which was an increase of 9.86% above the throughput in November 2009, data released by the National Bureau of Statistics showed.
Most domestic refiners continued to operate at full or near full capacity in November as they tried to optimize output of middle distillates to meet a diesel shortage that has gripped the country since late September.
"Sinopec and PetroChina kept refinery run rates high in November after being told by Beijing to ensure sufficient supplies of diesel," said Calvin Lee, Platts senior writer, China.
"Additionally, Chinese state-controlled companies imported more diesel in November to meet demand, although the volume was less than most industry sources had expected," said Lee.
In November, China's diesel imports rose 50.1% year-on-year to 150,000 mt. Diesel imports in November were also 275% more than imports of 40,000 mt in October.
The imported volume in November was significantly lower than earlier indicative volumes provided by state-owned companies.
Sinopec had announced in November that it would import 200,000 mt of diesel during the month, while PetroChina said that it planned to import 200,000 mt of diesel last month.
Meanwhile, total refined product imports reached 3.52 million mt, which was a gain of 34.3% from the volume imported in November 2009. ...
(*Platts calculates China's apparent or implied oil demand on the basis of crude throughput volumes at the domestic refineries and net oil product imports, as reported by the National Bureau of Statistics and Chinese customs.
China is the world's second largest oil consuming country. U.S. is the number one, while Japan ranks third. - D.R.)