China March crude oil runs hit 15-month low as refiners extend output cuts

BEIJING/SINGAPORE, April 17 (Reuters) - China’s daily crude oil throughputs hit their lowest monthly level in March since December 2018 as state refiners maintained deep cuts in production levels as the coronavirus pandemic undercut fuel demand.

Crude processing volumes were 50.04 million tonnes, equivalent to about 11.78 million barrels per day (bpd), data from the National Bureau of Statistics showed on Friday.

That’s well below 12.07 million bpd in January and February combined, and 12.49 million bpd in March 2019. The statistics bureau didn’t disclose numbers for January and February separately.

Total crude oil throughput in the first three months of 2020 were 149.28 million tonnes, down 4.6% from the same period last year.

The statistics bureau data also showed China’s crude oil output in March dipped just 0.1% from a year earlier to 16.56 million tonnes, or 3.9 million bpd.

Meanwhile, natural gas output rose 11.2% in March from a year ago to 16.9 billion cubic metres (bcm). For the quarter, output jumped 9.1% on year to 48.3 bcm despite disruption amid the coronavirus outbreak. (Reporting by Muyu Xu in Beijing and Chen Aizhu in Singapore; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell)