Trade Resources Industry Views China's Total Available Crude Supply Exceeded Refinery Throughput in December

China's Total Available Crude Supply Exceeded Refinery Throughput in December

China's total available crude supply significantly exceeded refinery throughput in December, suggesting 915,000 b/d of crude oil was added to storage during the month, although the total stockbuild during 2014 averaged just over 300,000 b/d, Platts calculations based on recently released government data showed.

The stockbuild in December was the third highest for the month in 2014 and also jumped from 194,000 b/d in November. The level of stocks held by refiners in China is not disclosed. Platts calculates China's net crude stock draw or build by subtracting refinery throughput from the country's crude oil supply in a given month.

The latter volume takes into account net imports and domestic production of crude.

China imported a record 7.18 million b/d of crude oil in December, which was also up 15.7% from November, according to data released January 13 by the General Administration of Customs.

Taking into account some exports, net crude imports advanced 12.5% year on year last month to 7.12 million b/d, also a record high.

Refinery throughput in December climbed 6.3% year on year to 10.54 million b/d, which was also the highest volume to date, according to figures from the National Bureau of Statistics released Tuesday.

Crude production during the month rose 2.1% to 4.33 million b/d.

The December stockbuild was the highest since April, which saw some 1.29 million b/d of crude added to storage.


In 2014, China's total crude oil stockbuild was 110.76 million barrels, or an average 303,400 b/d, rising more than 31% year on year.

This was also the highest crude oil stockbuild since 2009, when 114.27 million barrels was likely added to storage.

Most of last year's inventory build was done in the first half, with Chinese refiners defying the fall in oil prices during H2.

The implied stockbuild in the first quarter of last year was 415,400 b/d, rising to 623,500 b/d in the second quarter, before easing to 312,300 b/d in Q3 and 253,400 b/d in Q4.

There were only four months of crude stock draws last year, with the largest volume, 350,000 b/d, seen in October.

China's crude imports in 2014 were up a hefty 9.5% year on year to 6.19 million b/d. The pace of expansion more than doubled from 4% in 2013 and was the fastest since 2010.

Without corresponding expansion in domestic demand, much of the increase has been attributed to some filling of the country's commercial storage and strategic petroleum reserves.

With uncertainty over whether oil prices have reached a floor, analysts previously said Chinese companies will likely be cautious with their crude imports in the near future, with the bulk of inflows in 2015 likely channeled to fulfilling domestic demand rather than storage.

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China's Crude Oil Stockbuild in December Jumps to 915,000 B/D
Topics: Metallurgy