SINGAPORE — China’s refineries processed 8.8% less crude oil in July than a year earlier, data showed on Monday, as several state refiners underwent unplanned shutdowns and independent refiners trimmed production in response to thinning margins.
Crude throughput was 53.21 million tonnes, according to data from the National Bureau of Statistics, equivalent to 12.53 million barrels per day (bpd), the lowest daily rate since March 2020.
Throughput in July was compared with 13.37 million bpd in June and 13.91 million bpd in July 2021.
During the first seven months, refineries processed 380.27 million tonnes, down 6.3% on a year before and equal to about 13.09 million bpd.
Prolonged outages at large state-run refineries such as Sinopec Shanghai Petrochemical Corp’s 320,000-bpd crude facility and PetroChina Wepec’s 200,000-bpd plant weighed on national production.
Sinopec did not resume refining at some of the units at the Shanghai plant until last week, while the northeast Liaoning-based Wepec was not expected to resume operation until late August after nearly three months’ shutdown, said an industry source.
Meanwhile, operations at independent refiners began trending lower from late-July as margins narrowed. Their output could come under further downward pressure in coming months as the central government readies to conduct a new round of tax investigations. (tonne = 7.3 barrels for crude conversion ) (Reporting by Chen Aizhu and Muyu Xu; Editing by Christian Schmollinger and Uttaresh.V)