* Trial runs at Fujian refinery started
* Whole complex in full operations in second half 2009
(Adds background on demand, inventories)
BEIJING May 19 A joint venture between Exxon
Mobil (XOM.N), Saudi Aramco and China's Sinopec Corp (0386.HK),
said on Tuesday it had started trial runs at its new Fujian
refinery on China's southeastern coast.
The whole complex, which includes a 240,000-barrel-per-day
refinery and an 800,000-tonne-per-year ethylene complex, will
enter full operations in the second half of 2009, it said.
An industry source told Reuters earlier this month that the
refinery, expanded from an 80,000 bpd plant, started pumping
crude into the new 160,000-bpd crude processing unit in late
April and could enter normal operations as early as July.
The start-up of the new refinery comes at a time when Chinese
fuel demand appears to be improving as brimming inventories have
thinned and state oil firms have replenished stocks by raising
April's crude imports to their second-highest on record on a
The $5 billion venture is 50 percent owned by top Asian
refiner Sinopec Corp and 25 percent each by Exxon Mobil and Saudi
Aramco. The Saudi state oil firm will supply crude to the plant.
(Reporting by Chen Aizhu, Editing by Jacqueline Wong0