China has issued its first refined fuel import quotas for 2022, with gasoline and diesel volumes sharply up from a year ago, and naphtha, a petrochemicals feedstock, largely steady, according to industry sources and a document seen by Reuters on Thursday, APA reports.
Under the issue, naphtha totalled 10.09 million tonnes, including 5.75 million tonnes issued to state-run companies and another 4.34 million tonnes allotted to independent petrochemical producers, the document from the Ministry of Commerce showed.
That compared to a total of 9.94 million tonnes issued under the first lot of 2021.
Import quotas for gasoline rose to 700,000 tonnes versus 200,000 tonnes a year earlier, and diesel was set at 750,000 tonnes, versus 200,000 tonnes under the first allotment a year ago.
A Shandong-based industry official, declining to be named as she's not authorised to speak to the media, said a Chinese government crackdown on small, independent refineries could have led it to prepare for a potential shortage of gasoline and diesel.
The quotas for gasoline and diesel were exclusively handed to state-run companies.
The commerce ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The government is expected to release the first batch of refined fuel export quotas in January, after cutting the whole of 2021 issues by about a third versus 2020.
China overall has a surplus of refined fuel products - mainly gasoline, diesel and aviation fuel - after a rapid growth in the private sector in recent years created refining overcapacity.
In response, Beijing has since early 2021 sought to consolidate the sector by removing small, inefficient processing capacity in favour of mega and more sophisticated refiners.