China Petroleum & Chemical Corp. (386) processed 13 percent more crude oil in 2010, the highest rate of growth in six years, as a diesel shortage prompted its refineries to ramp up production.
Crude processing rose to 211 million metric tons, or 4.2 million barrels per day, the nation’s biggest refiner, which is also known as Sinopec, said in a report dated yesterday. Diesel output rose 11 percent to 76.1 million tons, gasoline production was up 4.2 percent to 35.9 million tons and kerosene increased 20 percent to 12.4 million tons, according to the report.
China’s refiners, including Sinopec and PetroChina Co. (857), boosted production to ease a diesel shortage in the fourth quarter, after some factories turned to the fuel for generators to offset electricity supply cuts. Oil processing volumes in China rose to a record in December, capping a 13 percent annual gain, according to data from the Beijing-based China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing yesterday.
“Sinopec beat its annual refining target helped by increasing diesel demand in the fourth quarter,” Shi Yan, an analyst at UOB-Kay Hian Ltd., said by telephone from Shanghai. “We expect this year’s refining volume to grow about 7 percent.”
Sinopec aimed to process 203 million tons of crude in 2010, according to its 2009 annual report. The growth in 2010 compares with a 6.7 percent gain in 2009 and was the fastest since a 14 percent increase in 2004, according to data from annual reports for previous years.
Sinopec increased production of natural gas by 48 percent to 441 billion cubic feet and output of crude oil by 0.05 percent to 330 million barrels, according to the report.
The Beijing-based company’s fuel sales in China rose 13 percent to 140.5 million tons in 2010, including 87.6 million tons in retail sales, the report said.
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