China’s Shandong independent refiners cut run rates to 61% in Apr on maintenance
Combined average run rates at China’s independent refineries in east Shandong province fell further to around 61.2% in April, from 62.9% in March, amid more scheduled maintenance at refineries, according to S&P Global Platts calculations based on raw data from Beijing-based information provide JLC.
The run rates, however, were still higher from 59.9% a year earlier.
The fall in April run rates was within expectation as more refineries were shut for maintenance. This included a total of 16.9 million mt/year capacity from four refineries, compared with 13.9 million mt/year in March.
Narrowing refining margins also resulted in lower run rates in April.
The refining margins for processing imported crudes – a basket of common grades including Lula, ESPO, and Oman – were Yuan 23 ($3.4)/mt lower, theoretically from March, according to JLC.
Looking into May, a total of 22.4 million mt/year offline capacity from six Shandong refineries will likely weigh down on the run rates.
JLC’s survey covered 44 independent refineries, with a total capacity of 172.4 million mt/year which accounts for about 60% of the country’s total independent capacity.
FEEDSTOCK CONSUMPTION FALLS 2.6% ON MONTH
Total feedstock consumption, which is 100% crudes, at the 44 surveyed refineries dropped 2.6% on month from March to 2.12 million b/d (8.68 million mt) in April, Platts calculations showed.
Among this, Dongming Petrochemical cracked the most feedstock at 660,000 mt, down from 680,000 mt last month. This was followed by Hongrun Petrochemical at 583,000 mt, down from 603,000 mt last month.
Huaxing Petrochemical was among the top three refineries in terms of feedstock consumption, with 402,000 mt consumed in April, down from 442,000 mt in March.
Total crudes consumed by the top three refineries accounted for about 19% of the total feedstock consumption in April.
ESPO Blend, Lula and Basrah Light remained as the top three crudes, the same as March, cracked by the 36 refineries which have crude import quotas in the survey.
ESPO Blend was favored the most by 17 refineries in April, down from 18 in March, with a combined consumption of 1.33 million mt, down 16.7% on month.
Lula was the second top slate, which was also 0.9% lower from March at 1.1 million mt, processed by 11 refineries – the same as March.
Last month, a total of 540,000 mt of Basrah Light crude was processed by the Shenchi Petrochemical, Dongming Petrochemical, Hongrun Petrochemical and Kelida Petrochemical, compared with 410,000 mt a month earlier.
GASOIL YIELDS INCREASE TO 13-MONTH HIGH
Gasoil yields – the ratio between gasoil output and total feedstock consumption – hit a 13-month high of 46.4%, the highest level since March 2018 at 47.6%, according to Platts calculations.
“The sales of gasoil has been relatively good compared with gasoline, and the gasoil price is even higher than gasoline, after excluding consumption tax,” a refinery source said.
In April, the average price of gasoil increased Yuan 122/mt, or 2%, to around Yuan 6,182/mt, while 92 RON gasoline only gained by Yuan 43/mt to Yuan 6,680/mt, according to JLC.
The consumption taxes for gasoline and gasoil are Yuan 2,110/mt and Yuan 1,411/mt, respectively. Despite the overall drop in feedstock consumption, the output of gasoline increased 3.2% on month to 2.81 million mt in April.
This was mainly attributed to the startup of the second phase petrochemical complex at the 5.9 million mt/year Jincheng Petrochemical, which has almost raised its gasoline output by 50% from March, according to JLC.