China oil imports likely to rise more in second half: Clyde Russell
Once again it appears that the major factors determining the extent of the gain will be how much new refining capacity comes online and how much new strategic storage is commissioned.
These two factors are uncertain, making an estimation of likely gains in crude demand a bit of a guess, but there is enough information to help make some early forecasts.
Some of China's top refineries plan to raise crude runs by about 4 percent in 2013, according to a Reuters poll of 18 major plants, which have a combined capacity of 4.83 million barrels per day (bpd) or 44 percent of total capacity.
If this 4 percent increase in runs is applied to the total refining capacity, it implies an increase in crude processed to 9.73 million bpd from 2012's 9.36 million.
This means a jump of about 375,000 bpd in crude processed, and it's likely that this will mainly be met by increased imports as domestic oil output is likely to be little changed at around 4.1 million bpd.
However, it's worth noting that refinery runs reached a record 10.493 million bpd in December, well above what the poll suggests they may average for the whole of 2013, suggesting there is upside risks to crude demand if operating rates continue at near last month's levels.
In what may just be little more than coincidence, the Reuters
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