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SINGAPORE: China has released 179.01 million metric tons of crude import quotas for 2024, according to Chinese industry consultancies and trade sources on Tuesday, 60% more than the previous year.

Fourty-one companies, mostly independent refiners, were given the fresh quotas, with some of them allotted full-year allowances, trade sources and consultancy JLC and Longzhong said.

The quota issued in January last year was 111.82 million tons.

Privately controlled Zhejiang Petrochemical Corp,the country’s single-largest refiner, was granted a quota of 40 million tons, in line with its annual processing capacity, while Shenghong Petrochemical, another privately-led refiner was granted 16 million tons which is also a full-year quota, the sources added.

The new issue is in addition to an odd batch of 3.68 million tons released around mid-December to a bunch of independent plants that some sources said would be counted under 2024 although refiners were expected to finish using them by the end of 2023, several sources with knowledge of the matter said.

The Ministry of Commerce did not immediately respond to a faxed request for comment.

India’s Nov Russian oil imports up 3% from October

Shandong-based Yulong Petrochemical, a sole major greenfield refinery expected to begin operations this year, was not among the recipients of the fresh batch. Last November, the refiner was granted its first-ever crude oil quota of 300,000 tons.

Beijing manages crude oil imports by independent refiners under a rigid quota system, typically issuing several sets of quotas throughout the year.

Crude oil imports by dominant state refiners Sinopec, PetroChina and CNOOC are not subject to this quota management.

China issued a total of 203.64 million tons of crude oil import quotas for 2023, including an odd tranche released in October 2022 in advance for 2023 and was 14% higher than 2022.

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