China oil imports likely to rise more in second half: Clyde Russell
However, for the bulk of this year, it's only the PetroChina facility that is likely to boost crude imports, and then probably not even by as much as the full 200,000 bpd capacity.
However, building up inventories for the new refining capacity will also serve to boost crude demand over the year.
Another X-factor is strategic storage, with some second stage facilities due for completion in 2013.
It's by no means certain that even if the tanks are ready, that China will decide to lift imports to fill them, but it's nonetheless an upside risk to crude demand, especially for the second half.
Putting together what is known and speculating on what's likely, and a picture emerges of additional imported crude demand of at least 300,000 bpd in 2013, but more likely closer to 400,000 bpd.
This will meet the planned increase in refinery runs, which is turn will meet the gain in actual demand from higher economic growth.
If oil is bought for strategic storage, it will most likely be in the second half, meaning demand may rise more in that period than in the first half.
(Clyde Russell is a Reuters market analyst. The views expressed are his own.)
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