Smaller China refineries post large output cuts amid coronavirus crisis

Total China throughput will drop by 1.8 million bpd to two million bpd amid tepid demand

Independent refineries, except the new mega Hengli Petrochemical (Dalian) and Zhejiang Petroleum & Chemical, are estimated to cut throughput by 700,000bpd in February. (Image for illustration only)
Independent refineries, except the new mega Hengli Petrochemical (Dalian) and Zhejiang Petroleum & Chemical, are estimated to cut throughput by 700,000bpd in February. (Image for illustration only)

China's small-scale refineries will see their sharpest output cut in February as the coronavirus outbreak exacerbates the country's economic slowdown, refining sources and analysts told S&P Global Platts.

"Independent refineries, especially those in Shandong, got hit the hardest this time around, with their utilisation rates slashed and operations shut down for some," said Kang Wu, head of Platts Analytics Asia.

Early estimates show Chinese crude runs could be about one-two million bpd lower for February than originally expected, said the Platts Analytics report.

One Beijing-based analyst said independent refineries, except the new mega Hengli Petrochemical (Dalian) and Zhejiang Petroleum & Chemical, are estimated to cut throughput by 700,000bpd in February, with Sinopec and PetroChina likely to cut about 600,000bpd and 300,000bpd, respectively, and the rest to cut 200,000bpd.

Total China throughput will drop by 1.8 million bpd to two million bpd amid tepid demand, the analyst told S&P Global Platts.

Sinopec, the world's biggest refiner, plans to cut 10% throughput of its total 5.89 million bpd capacity in February, sources told the newswire.

Reductions vary at different Sinopec refineries, from about 20,000bpd to 50,000bpd, with the bottom line of 60%-70% operation rate.

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