China issues second batch of 2018 crude oil import quotas: sources

FILE PHOTO: An oil tanker unloads crude oil at a crude oil terminal in Zhoushan, Zhejiang province, China July 4, 2018. REUTERS/Stringer

SINGAPORE/BEIJING (Reuters) - China has issued a second batch of crude oil import quotas for independent refiners and some trading companies with a total volume of 11.91 million tonnes, three trade sources said on Thursday, citing official documents.

Of the 26 companies that received quotas, 21 were independent refiners, they said.

The first batch of quotas for this year totaled 121.32 million tonnes and were issued to 44 companies in December.

“A much smaller batch of quota was expected as many independent (refiners) already got quota that’s equivalent to 11 months of use in the first batch,” said Sengyick Tee, a Beijing-based consultant at SIA Energy.

The latest import allowance takes total crude quotas for the year to 153.23 million tonnes, up from 93.23 million tonnes in 2017. China’s Hengli Group, which earlier won approvals for 20 million tonnes of annual crude oil quota, was not on the list of the second batch of import quotas.

This year’s jump in import quotas came as the government speeded up approvals. China’s Commerce Ministry has given initial approval to 11 independent refiners for crude oil import licenses in May.

Among the refiners that secured the largest quotas in the second batch include Baota Petrochemical Group which was given 1.08 million tonnes, ChemChina which received 1.85 million tonnes and Sinochem International which got 1.31 million tonnes, the three sources said, citing official documents.

Reporting by Florence Tan in SINGAPORE and Meng Meng in BEIJING; Editing by Christian Schmollinger and Manolo Serapio Jr.