SHANGHAI Nov 15 Chinese refiners have finalised
annual crude oil supply deals for next year with OPEC producer
Kuwait at volumes steady with this year, around 250,000 barrels
per day, two trading executives told Reuters on Thursday.
The figure is equivalent to around 5 percent of crude oil
imports by China, the world's largest buyer of the fuel after
the United States.
"Kuwait didn't really push aggressively in China sales yet,
because its oil production has been kept at about 3.1 million
bpd," one executive with direct knowledge of the supply pact
In the absence of extra orders from European buyers, Kuwait
has no plans to raise its crude production capacity of around
3.1 million to 3.2 million bpd in the short term, the chief of
state-run Kuwait Petroleum Corp (KPC) has said.
China is Kuwait's No.3 client after South Korea and India,
taking 8 percent of its production each year.
But as China adds refining capacity, particularly two major
greenfield refineries with which Kuwait could formalise
long-term supply, its crude purchases from the Gulf state are
set to rise significantly around 2014/2015, said the trading
executive, who declined to be named because he is not authorised
to speak to media.
With Kuwait's domestic output not expected to rise
dramatically until 2020, a big increase in supplies to China
would mean cutting back on other Asian customers such as Japan,
where demand for oil is declining.
The Chinese refineries Kuwait could tie up for long-term
supplies are state-run Sinochem Group's 240,0000-bpd facility
that is set to begin trial production next June, and a
300,000-bpd complex planned by Sinopec, Asia's largest refiner,
in the southern province of Guangdong.
Petroleum and chemicals trader Sinochem, which has ambitions
to become an integrated energy player, expects its first major
refinery in the coastal city of Quanzhou to use crude mainly
from the Middle East, including Kuwait, with which it agreed a
2007 deal to buy 240,000 bpd of crude.
In 2009, Sinopec signed a pact with KPC to jointly
build a refinery and petrochemical complex in southern China,
but has yet to decide whether to build the $9 billion refinery
by itself or in a joint venture with KPC and Total.
(Writing by Judy Hua; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)