By CASSIE WERBER
LONDON -- The volume of crude oil passing through global
refineries is forecast to rise in the fourth quarter of 2012,
with China and India leading growth in the sector,
according to the International Energy Agency.
But profit margins for refiners fell in every region other
than the U.S. Midwest in November, the IEA said, due largely to
falling prices for gasoline and fuel oil.
In its monthly report on the oil sector, released Wednesday,
the IEA said that the projected daily average for refinery runs was up year-on-year by
950,000 bbl, to 75.3 million bbl. Growth is expected to
continue into the first quarter of 2013, when refinery throughput is forecast to
be 75.8 million bpd.
report noted that the main driver of this growth would be Asian
countries outside the Organization for Economic Co-operation
and Development, a group that represents some of the world's
most affluent countries.
"Growth is concentrated in non-OECD Asia, with both India and China expected to expand
as new capacity is commissioned," the IEA report said.
In October, India recorded record-high refinery throughput of 4.5 million
bpd, while China's refining productivity in September
and October grew year-on-year by 600,000 bpd. China refined a
total of 9.5 million bpd in the fourth quarter.
The IEA said that Russia "surprised" the market by refining
a record 5.6 million bpd in the quarter.
In Europe's refining sector, where there was
some growth in the third quarter of 2012, a return to
contraction is expected in the fourth quarter. The report cited
"weak underlying demand and falling margins' for the slump.
Looking forward into 2013, the report said that China's
independent refining industry is "undergoing
strong reforms," with some small refineries closing and others
gaining permission to import increased quantities of crude.
The impact of these moves isn't yet clear, but could become
significant in the coming year, the report said:
"If the license to import crude oil is extended to all
independent refiners in China, fuel oil market dynamics in the
region could be severely reshaped," the IEA said.
Dow Jones Newswires