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China's crude imports hit record high of 9.61 mln bpd

TOKYO, Feb 12 (KUNA) -- China's crude oil imports jumped 19.6 percent in January from a year earlier to 40.64 million tons, or 9.61 million barrels a day (bpd), marking a record high, government data showed.
The previous record was 9.21 million bpd in March 2017. Imports also grew 12.1 percent from December's imports of 7.97 million bpd, according to data released by the General Administration of Customs on Monday.
China is one of the world's biggest oil consumers. In 2015, the government began to allow local independent refineries, known as "teapot" refiners, to import crude oil as part of its energy reforms. Qualified local refineries are allowed to import crude oil if they cut backward capacity or install natural gas storage facilities.
These private refiners are with relatively small capacities, ranging from 20,000 bpd to 100,000 bpd. The Ministry of Commerce said last November that it will raise the quota for non-state crude oil imports to 142 million tons for this year, up 55 percent from that of 2017. (end) mk.ag