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China cuts 2nd batch of crude oil import quotas for private refiners

  • A total of 39 companies, led by two large private refiners -Zhejiang Petrochemical Co (ZPC) and Hengli Petrochemical - will receive the new quotas. ZPC and Hengli will each receive 3 million tonnes.
Published June 21, 2021
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SINGAPORE: China has issued 35.24 million tonnes of crude oil import quotas to non-state refiners in a second batch of allowances for 2021, a 35% drop from the same slot last year, according to a government document seen by Reuters and two sources with knowledge of the matter.

The sharp decline comes after a recent crackdown on trading of such quotas as Beijing works to consolidate its bloated refining industry and reduce emissions.

Analysts expect the quota cut to affect independent refiners' appetite for crude imports and their refinery utilisation rates in the second half of the year.

A total of 39 companies, led by two large private refiners -Zhejiang Petrochemical Co (ZPC) and Hengli Petrochemical - will receive the new quotas. ZPC and Hengli will each receive 3 million tonnes.

A few Shandong-based independent refiners, or so-called teapots, which had received crude oil import quotas under the first batch this year, were removed from the new list, the document showed. That included Shandong Wonfull Petrochemical, Shandong Haiyou Petrochemical and Qingyuan Petrochemical.

Several companies affiliated with China's state-owned oil majors were also not included in the new list, the document showed.

China's Ministry of Commerce had said in late 2020 that it would raise the non-state crude oil imports allowance for 2021 by 20% from 2020's total to 243 million tonnes, to meet demand from new mega refineries.

In December, it issued 122.59 million tonnes for the first batch for 2021, the highest ever.

However, ballooning domestic fuel supplies and depressed sector-wide refining profits so far in 2021 encouraged authorities to launch a probe into the use of crude import quotas and levy new taxes on fuels used by refiners.

The second batch of quotas bring China's total non-state import allowances to 157.83 million tonnes so far this year, compared to 157.71 million tonnes by the same point in 2020.

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China cuts 2nd batch of crude oil import quotas for private refiners

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