US, WASHINGTON (ORDO NEWS) — China’s daily oil production in March fell to a 15-month low, reports Reuters .
China’s state-owned oil refineries supported deep cuts in production, as the coronavirus pandemic affected demand, but at the same time there were some signs of recovery as the country began to weaken virus-related restrictions.
The sharp reduction in the number of largest energy consumers in the world underlines not only the problems of the global oil sector, but also the problems of the global economy in the context of the health crisis, which has changed people’s lives, complicated supply chains and excited markets.
In January-March, China’s GDP fell by 6.8% compared to last year, which was the first such decline, at least since 1992.
According to the National Bureau of Statistics, the volume of crude oil for this period amounted to 149.28 million tons, or about 11.98 million barrels per day, which is 4.6% less than the year before.
In March, production amounted to 50.04 million tons, which is 6.6% less and equivalent to about 11.78 million barrels per day, the bureau data showed.
This was a total of below 12.07 million barrels per day in the first two months of the year and 12.49 million barrels per day in March 2019. It was also the lowest since December 2018. The Bureau did not disclose individual figures for January and February.
State-supported refineries operated at low speeds and overhauled some oil installations amid restrictions on the outbreak of coronavirus.
But while local governments are lifting restrictions, independent refineries are ramping up production to meet the expected recovery in fuel demand.
The average utilization rate at refineries across China reached 71.65% this week, compared with 67.5% in mid-February, according to Longzhong Information Co.
“Refineries have incentives to improve performance as fuel consumption is gradually increasing,” said Li Yang, a senior analyst at Longzhong.
“They also need to quickly process the expensive crude oil that they bought before the fall in oil prices,” the analyst added.
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