By MARI IWATA
TOKYO -- Japanese refiners' April output is set to fall as
several refineries close for seasonal maintenance, but many of them are
confident of meeting demand during the shutdown as stockpiles
of refined products are ample.
"We have plenty of gasoil and kerosene," Tsutomu Sugimori,
Senior Vice President of JX Nippon Oil & Energy Corp,
The country's top oil refiner by capacity plans to cut crude
runs by 8% to 1.11 million bpd, while closing two crude distillation units at its Mizushima
B refinery in western Japan from late
March to late July.
"If the stockpiles still remain high, we'd lower operation
rates at other refineries," Mr. Sugimori said. JX Energy is a
unit of JX Holdings.
Idemitsu Kosan is planning a 4% cut in crude throughput in the
April-June quarter in line with Japan's declining oil demand.
It is also planning a maintenance shutdown at its Chiba refinery, east of Tokyo.
The company said in a statement that it can meet customers'
demand with ample stockpiles built in the January-March
Showa Shell Sekiyu hasn't yet announced production plans for
the April-June quarter. "As we plan a refinery maintenance in
the coming quarter, we'll process less," a spokesman said. "We
have prepared for it" by building stocks, he added.
Cosmo Oil declined to comment on its production plans. The
company's Chiba refinery is under maintenance.
As of March 23, gasoil stockpiles held by Japanese refiners
were up 22% from a year earlier at 1.92 million kiloliters, or
12.1 million bbl, according to latest data from the Petroleum
Association of Japan.
Similarly, kerosene stocks were at 1.89 million kiloliters,
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