Competition heating up for Chinese refiners

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Slowing demand growth and capacity expansions will squeeze refiners in coming years

China’s crude oil throughput continued to set record highs in the first quarter of 2024, as refiners ramped up operations to meet holiday demand in February and March. But lower growth in March supports the view that throughput will expand more gradually this year.
A slower increase in refinery runs will lead to pressure on refining and marketing margins for China’s three NOCs—which account for three-quarters of refined oil product output—and could potentially drag on oil import growth.
Crude oil processing in the world’s second-largest oil consumer reached 182.46mt in Q1, equivalent to 14.7m b/d, according to government data. The volume was up by 2.4% year-on-year and 0.5% higher than the 1

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