* Crude oil tanker docks at Qingdao port
* Sinopec, PetroChina divert 3 VLCCs to Tianjin, Ningbo
* Diesel exports from Qingdao may drop
By Florence Tan and Jessica Jaganathan
SINGAPORE, Nov 26 Asia's top refiner Sinopec
has resumed unloading of crude oil at the
Qingdao port in eastern China, four days after deadly pipeline
explosions disrupted operations, a trade source said and
shipping data showed on Tuesday.
New Success, a very large crude carrier (VLCC) chartered by
Unipec, the trading arm of Sinopec, has docked at the Qingdao
port, according to data from Reuters Freightviews.
The unloading of 2 million barrels of Middle East crude from
New Success signals a gradual return to normalcy of Sinopec's
operations in Qingdao where its oil pipeline exploded on Friday,
killing 55 people and shutting the city's Huangdao oil terminal.
The terminal re-opened on Monday and VLCC Alsace, chartered
by PetroChina, is discharging fuel oil at port.
Crude onboard New Success will likely be supplied via a
pipeline to Sinopec's 200,000-barrels per day (bpd) Qingdao
refinery which has been running at a reduced rate since the
The refinery could resume full operation within a week or
two as its pipeline was unaffected in the incident, a Chinese
trade source said. A Sinopec spokesman could not be immediately
reached for comment.
Three other VLCCs have been diverted to the other major
refining bases in Tianjin and Ningbo, in eastern Zhejiang
The damaged pipeline had been supplying crude to another two
Sinopec refineries - the 220,000-bpd Qilu and 100,000-bpd Jinan.
These refineries will have to rely on local crude supply from
another pipeline that is linked to the Shengli oilfield, the
Chinese trade source said.
Sinopec could cut back exports of two medium-range sized
cargoes of diesel or jet fuel a month from the Qingdao refinery,
The state-owned major has not sought to import oil products
despite lower output as the affected refineries made up just a
fraction of its total refining capacity of more than 4 million
bpd, traders said, while PetroChina, CNOOC and
independent refineries in Shandong could meet the shortfall.
"It's low demand season so it won't be a problem even if
Sinopec halts operations at one refinery," the Chinese trader
Sinopec is conducting safety checks on all of its more than
30,000 kilometres of pipelines after the disaster sparked a
public backlash and caused its shares to sink to a more than
one-week low on Tuesday.
(Reporting by Florence Tan, Jessica Jaganathan, Seng Li Peng,
Jane Xie and Judy Hua in Beijing; Editing by Muralikumar