* Kunming refinery delayed two years until 2016
* Jieyang plant delayed four years until 2017
BEIJING Jan 23 PetroChina has put off
starting up two new refineries and delayed expansion of another
to counter the threat of overcapacity as oil demand growth slows
in the world's second largest oil consumer, a company official
said on Thursday.
China's oil consumption last year grew at its slowest in
more than 20 years, calculations on government data showed on
Monday, as soft economic growth sliced demand for transportation
and industrial fuels such as diesel.
"China's oil consumption growth is slowing down and
overcapacity in the oil industry is looming. Rapid expansion in
refining capacity will result in a glut and increasing net fuel
exports," said the PetroChina official who declined to be
identified because he is not authorized to talk to media.
The delays should also help support Asia's refining margins,
which were expected to be weak this year with the planned
capacity additions in China and more in the Middle East.
PetroChina will now start up its 200,000-bpd Kunming
refinery in the Yunnan province in 2016, two years behind the
original schedule, the official said.
Operation of a 400,000-bpd joint venture refinery in Jieyang
of Guangdong province will be delayed to 2017, versus the
original plan of 2013, he said.
The company will also delay expansion of Huabei refinery in
north China to 2015 from this year, the official added.
China's implied oil demand - refinery throughput plus net
fuel imports but excluding changes in inventories - rose 1.6
percent in 2013, or a meagre 150,000 bpd, according to Reuters
calculations based on preliminary government data and unrevised
2012 output figures.
That was the slowest oil demand growth rate since at least
1992, according to data from the International Energy Agency.
Reuters began tallying the implied China oil demand number
(Reporting by Judy Hua and Chen Aizhu; Editing by Tom Hogue)