China's December refinery production touched new highs as facilities replenished stocks ahead of a long holiday break, lifting crude oil throughout for the year as a whole by 2.8% to another record.
BEIJING, Jan 20 (Reuters) - China's December refinery production touched new highs as facilities replenished stocks ahead of a long holiday break, lifting crude oil throughout for the year as a whole by 2.8 percent to another record.
The surge came as China's crude oil production slipped last year to its lowest annual level since 2009, as oil firms shut in higher-cost fields amid lower crude prices.
Data from the National Bureau of Statistics showed on Friday that crude throughput rose 3.7 percent last month from the same period a year earlier to 47.82 million tons, or 11.26 million barrels per day (bpd).
For the whole of 2016, throughput climbed to 541 million tons, or 10.79 million bpd - a jump mostly due to the country's independent oil refiners ramping up operations after obtaining permits to import for the first time.
Crude runs are expected to increase by another 305,000 barrels per day to 11.1 million bpd in 2017, energy consultancy FGE said in a note, as state-run firms bring new refinery projects on line this year.
Meanwhile crude output for December dropped 7.7 percent to 16.77 million tons, or 3.95 million barrels per day, data showed.
China's second-largest onshore producer, Sinopec Corp, is set to record a double-digit fall in annual output, experts said. Meanwhile offshore specialist CNOOC Ltd has cut its oil production target for 2017, predicting output will drop for five years between 2015 and 2019.
In natural gas supply, China pumped 13.3 billion cubic meters of the fuel in December, hitting a fresh record as the country accelerated a shift towards the cleaner fuel and demand picked up in winter.
For the year, natural gas production grew 2.2 percent to 136.8 bcm.
(Reporting by Meng Meng and Beijing Monitoring Desk; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell)
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