TOKYO Oct 9 Showa Shell Sekiyu KK, Japan's fifth-largest oil refiner, said on Tuesday it expects to refine 7.8 million kilolitres of crude oil in the October-December quarter, unchanged from a year earlier.
That amount will be for both domestic and export use combined. The company declined to give details of how much would be used in the domestic market.
The quarterly rise to 533,300 barrels per day from an actual 485,400 bpd in the July-September comes after the scheduled maintenance at Seibu Oil's 120,000 bpd Yamaguchi refinery in western Japan for about a month in September resulted in a fall in storage of oil products, a Showa Shell spokesman said.
"Since our utilisation rate is already 100 percent, we're going to refine less for exports and use that amount to build up stocks and meet the need in the domestic market," the spokesman said.
Excluding irregular stocks, refining volume for the domestic market in the October-December period would be unchanged from a year earlier, the company said in a statement.
In Japan, the world's third-biggest oil consumer, demand is on a downward trend, barring one-off effects from reconstruction, and demand from utilities which are burning oil to make up for drastically reduced atomic power generation amid safety concerns after last year's earthquake and tsunami triggered a nuclear disaster.
Showa Shell, which is 35 percent owned by Royal Dutch Shell and almost 15 percent owned by Saudi Aramco, refines crude at its four refineries in Japan which have total refining capacity of 538,000 barrels per day.
Apart from the Yamaguchi refinery, Showa Shell processes crude at the 210,000 bpd Yokkaichi refinery, Toa Oil's 65,000 bpd Keihin refinery and Fuji Oil's 143,000 bpd Sodegaura refinery.
Showa Shell owns 6.6 percent of Fuji Oil's parent, AOC Holdings, and 38 percent in Seibu Oil. Toa Oil, in which Showa Shell owns 50.1 percent, permanently shut the Ohgimachi factory at the Keihin refinery in September last year.