China’s Ministry of Commerce has added 643,000 b/d to the 2017 fuel export quota for China’s oil refineries, according to ESAI Energy’s recently published China Trade Watch. This will significantly boost China’s fuel exports in November and December 2017. The Ministry also announced a crude oil import quota of 2.85 million b/d for independent “teapot” refiners in 2018. The import quota, 55 percent higher than in 2017, sends a positive signal regarding crude imports and throughput for independent refiners next year. 

The China Trade Watch captures the most significant factors that shape China’s oil trade. With the new fuel export quota, the full-year 2017 quota now rises to 933,000 b/d, from 826,000 b/dbefore the Ministry’s announcement. Specifically, the annual quota for gasoline rises to 275,000 b/d from 235,000 b/d, diesel to 356,000 b/d from 295,000 b/d, and jet fuel to 302,000 b/d from 295,000 b/d. For crude oil imports in 2018, independent refiners received an unexpected total quota of 2,848,400 b/d. This marks a 1 million b/d increase from 2017 levels. 

“These announcements support our earlier forecast of rising year-end exports and crude imports beyond this winter,” points out Yao Wu at ESAI Energy. “In addition, the soaring non-state crude import quota next year will encourage competition between independent refiners and state-owned companies. While there is still no indication that independent refiners will be granted fuel export quotas next year, we expect them to play a more significant role in China’s fuel markets in 2018.

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