China’s refinery crude runs leapt to 14.55mn b/d for November, the second highest on record after June’s 14.84mn b/d and up almost 80,000 b/d on October. This comes as the Zhejiang Petrochemical refinery south of Shanghai, recently expanded to 800,000 b/d was able to ramp up towards full capacity having received increased crude import quotas in late October. China’s crude imports leapt by over 1.3mn b/d to 10.21mn b/d for November with Saudi Arabia again ahead of Russia as top supplier (MEES, 10 December). Volumes are on track to leap again for December with data intelligence firm Kpler pegging seaborne arrivals at 10.5mn b/d for the first half of the month versus 9.3mn b/d for November and just 8.3mn b/d for October.

The IEA’s latest forecasts have China’s oil demand averaging just over 15mn b/d for 2021, up 8.4% (1.2mn b/d) on 2020’s previous record high and rising by a further 500,000 b/d to a new record 15.6mn b/d for 2022. China remains well behind the US as the world’s top oil consumer, however. US demand is set to come in at 19.75mn b/d for 2021, up 1.6mn b/d on 2020’s 25-year low of 18.19mn b/d but still well down on the record 20.55mn b/d set in 2019. Latest official US forecasts have 2022 consumption rebounding to within 100,000 b/d of these record levels. US final consumption/demand figures typically include around 1mn b/d of blended ethanol and biofuels. (CONTINUED - 253 WORDS)