By WAYNE MA
The International Energy Agency (IEA) said Wednesday that it
would slightly lower its 2012 forecast for Chinese oil demand
and output due to a slowing domestic economy and the unexpected
decline of both onshore and offshore production.
Oil-product demand from China, the world's largest energy
consumer, is expected to average 9.913 million bpd in 2012,
down from an earlier forecast of 9.996 million bpd, the IEA
said in its monthly oil markets report.
"Consumption is expected to expand by 4.3% in the year as a
whole - nearly one whole percentage point down on our month
earlier forecast, the agency said. This reflects a
lower first-quarter 2012 baseline and an easing of economic
growth from 9.5% to 9.0% this year."
The IEA also lowered its 2012 estimate for Chinese oil
production by 110,000 barrels day to 4.2 million barrels a
"We now do not expect production from the
150,000-barrel-a-day offshore Penglai field to return until
late in 2012 amid government caution over the restart,
the IEA said.
The Penglai 19-3 oil field in Bohai Bay, a joint venture
between ConocoPhillips and China National Offshore Oil Corp.,
has been shut since September due to several oil spills in
Partly due to the spill, China's December crude output fell
3.1% to 16.98 million metric tons, or about 4.014 million
China's crude runs may remain high due to new refineries in
Yinchuan and Beihai, which ramped up runs in December, the IEA
Chinese refinery throughput reached a record
high of 9.28 million bpd in December after breaking an earlier
record of 9.25 million bbl set in November.
"Both PetroChina Co. and Sinopec have announced plans to
increase runs in 2012 compared to 2011, by 6.0% and 3.8%
respectively," the IEA said.
The country's refinery throughput is expected to
average 9.2 million bpd in the first quarter of 2012 and could
rise as high as 9.4 million bpd in April, according to an IEA
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