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Page added on November 21, 2010

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Chinese oil demand up double-digits… again


China’s apparent oil demand in October rose by a strong 11.8% from a year ago to 37.88 million metric tons (mt), or an average of 8.95 million barrels per day (b/d), according to a just-released Platts analysis of official data from the People’s Republic of China.

October demand was 3.1% higher than the September figure of 35.53 million mt.

China’s apparent oil demand in the first ten months of this year total 355.58 million mt, or an average of 8.57 million b/d. This is up 10.4% from the same period of 2009, Platts data showed.

Crude throughput volumes at Chinese refiners spiked to a collective total of 37.04 million mt or 8.76 million b/d on average in October, a historic high, and up 11.3% from a year ago, data from the country’s National Bureau of Statistics showed.

The sharp rise in crude processing contrasted with a significant drop in Chinese crude imports in October, to 16.39 million mt or 3.88 million b/d. This was the lowest monthly import figure to date in 2010 and 15.2% lower than the corresponding month of 2009.

Platts noted in its China Oil Demand press release last month that China’s net crude import and throughput figures for September indicated the country had likely put a little more than 5 million mt of crude into storage. More than 3 million mt of that crude surplus should have been used up in October with crude purchases during that month from overseas being the lowest so far this year while refiners’ processing volumes were the highest.

“An acute shortage of gasoil in China, attributed to a reduction in power supply, has headlined the oil industry in Asia and beyond for the past few weeks. The situation explains the 36% jump in China’s net refined product imports in October from a month ago as well as refiners cranking up output to an all-time high,” said Vandana Hari, Asia editorial director for Platts.

“The power blackout policy adopted by some local governments to meet the country’s pledge to cut energy consumption per unit of gross domestic product (GDP) by 20% from 2005 levels by end-2010 is driving up diesel-fired electricity generation and appears set to further boost China’s already strong oil demand growth rates through the end of this year,” Hari added.

Meanwhile, China’s refined product imports declined to 2.72 million mt in October from 2.79 million mt in September, but exports saw a sharper drop of 13.36% month on month to 1.88 million mt, leading to higher net imports.

Oct. ’10 Oct. ’09 % Chg Sept. ’10 Aug. ’10 July ’10 June ’10
Net crude imports 16.13 18.97 -14.97 22.90 20.65 18.83 22.14
Crude production 17.75 16.26 +9.16 17.19 17.43 17.22 16.88
Apparent demand* 37.88 33.89 +11.77 35.53 35.54 35.82 36.74

*Platts calculates China’s apparent or implied oil demand on the basis of crude throughput volumes at the domestic refineries and net oil product imports, as reported by the National Bureau of Statistics and Chinese customs.

The government releases data on imports, exports, domestic crude production and refinery throughput data, but does not give official data on the country’s actual oil consumption figure and oil stockpiles. Official statistics on oil storage are released intermittently.

Platts releases its monthly calculation of China’s apparent demand between the 18th and 26th of every month via press release and via its website. Any use of this information must be appropriately attributed to Platts.

This analyst survey is conducted by Platts’ editorial team in Washington, DC and is published every Wednesday morning, one day ahead of the 10:30 a.m. (ET) Thursday release of the weekly natural gas storage report of the U. Energy Information Administration. Platts has been conducting this survey since January 2007. The survey includes 15 to 25 analysts, some on a rotational basis.


2 Comments on "Chinese oil demand up double-digits… again"

  1. Simon in BC on Sun, 21st Nov 2010 6:17 am 

    Increasing at 12% per year means doubling every 6 years. The US only consumes 20 million barrels of oil a day. At 9 million barrels per day currently, China would be up to the same amount in hardly 7 years. Considering that the US uses about 25% of the entire worlds oil production and that we have peaked, this is just not going happen. So what is China going to do? Let its economy come to a screeching halt or maybe sabotage the US economy by selling its US debt? Then it could just take over the oil currently used by the US. Half of it anyway.

  2. KenZ300 on Sun, 21st Nov 2010 7:56 am 

    The Chinese have been going around the world buying up resources and making deals for energy. They are also investing heavily in renewable energy and want lead the world in alternative energy production and sales. Massive investments in wind, solar and biofuels have been made the last 5 years.

    Does the rest of the world have an energy policy? In the US, energy policy has been dominated by oil and coal contributions to the detriment of alternative energy sources.

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