Despite Stockpiling, China Crude Storage Low

March 23, 2009
Jim Bai, Reuters
PetroChina's Xinjiang Oilfield Corporation has started an expansion that would boost its crude oil storage capacity by 60 percent by August 2010, a newspaper run by parent CNPC reported on Monday.

The Xinjiang unit will add 450,000 cubic metres of crude oil tanks to its Wangjiagou oil storage facility in two years, with three tanks with 50,000 cubic metres of storage capacity each set to be ready for use by October 30 this year, the China Petroleum Daily said.

The other six tanks of the same size are scheduled to be operational by August 10, 2010.

The expansion would boost Xinjiang Oilfield's storage capacity to 1.2 million cubic metres (or 7.6 million barrels) and increase its ability to handle more crude oil produced in its own fields or imported from Kazakhstan, according to the report.

In December, Xinjiang Oilfield built 1 million cubic metres of oil storage tanks in Shanshan in Xinjiang, the first phase of a massive crude oil storage project that would eventually be able to hold 8 million cubic metres of oil.

China's crude oil imports declined for the second time in a row in February despite slumping importing costs, as domestic demand dwindled due to a weakening economy and limited storing facilities were mostly filled.

The world's second largest oil user, relying on overseas supplies for half its oil demand, China has added a series of new stockpiling facilities in recent quarters but its overall oil stocks at the end of January would cover only 44 days of forward demand, according to the official Xinhua news agency.

The level is approximately half the stocks that members of the International Energy Agency are required to hold.

- Copyright 2009, Reuters. All rights reserved.