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BMI View: China's long-term crude oil and liquids output will remain on a
firm downtrend as low oil prices slowdown exploration and render certain
high-cost mature and unconventional plays uneconomic. Outlook is more positive
for natural gas, as the government seeks to increase the share of gas in the
total energy mix. This will prompt domestic firms to ramp-up gas output
accordingly, ensuring that growth remains robust over the short-to-medium term.
Crude demand will remain strong, driven by continued stockpiling activity,
greater teapot imports and robust domestic demand for gasoline, jet
fuel/kerosene and petrochemical feedstock, which will drive elevated run rates
at existing refineries.
Latest Updates And Key Forecasts
■ China's crude oil and liquids output will fall by 12.0% between 2016 and 2025,
as sustained oil price weakness prompt the country's largest oil producers to
pare back upstream investment and disengage from high-cost production
■ An ambitious gas production target is expected to lead a 5.0% increase in gas
output over 2016, as domestic firms ramp-up production activities accordingly.
■ China is set to add about 1.6mn b/d of new refining capacity over the next
five years, though heavy underutilisation of existing capacity indicates
substantial scope for downsizing.
■ Following a substantial cut to wholesale gas prices for non-residential users
back in November 2015, the government is mulling another price reform, this time
establishing a single wholesale price for all users at non-residential levels.
This will bring domestic prices more in line with market rates, and help to
stimulate greater demand from the industrial and power sector consumers.
■ Crude imports will remain strong as continued stockpiling activities, refining
capacity additions, awarding of import licenses to the teapot refineries and
strong domestic demand for gasoline keep China's appetite for imports elevated.