The first batch of China’s 2023 crude oil import quotas have been distribute, primarily to independent refiners, according to four sources with knowledge of the situation on Saturday.
According to a source, the volume was release around three months sooner than typical at a level of about 20 million tonnes (146 million barrels).
A faxed request for comment received no immediate response from China’s Ministry of Commerce.
According to a senior executive at one of the major refiners, demands for the quotas will rely on refining economics.
Because the margins are not promising, refiners can nevertheless decide to use the increased quotas in the next year. As a result, the effect on the market for crude oil might be minimal, he said.
Beijing released a third set of quotas for 2022 last month, increasing its non-state imports quota for this year to 164.61 million tonnes.