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This Week in Petroleum

Release date: March 18, 2020  |  Next release date:韩国三级电影 March 25, 2020

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China’s crude oil imports surpassed 10 million barrels per day in 2019

China’s annual crude oil imports in 2019 increased to an average of 10.1 million barrels per day (b/d), an increase of 0.9 million b/d from the 2018 average (Figure 1). China surpassed the United States as the world’s largest crude oil importer韩国三级电影 in 2017. New refinery capacity and strategic inventory stockpiling, combined with flat domestic oil production, were the major factors contributing to the increase in China’s crude oil imports in 2019.

Figure 1. China's annual average crude oil imports

In 2019, 55% of China’s crude oil imports came from countries within the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), the smallest share since at least 2005. China’s crude oil imports from Saudi Arabia increased by more than 0.5 million b/d in 2019 to 1.7 million b/d, or 16% of total crude oil imports. Although China imported more crude oil from Saudi Arabia in 2019 than ever before, Saudi Arabia’s share of China’s oil imports was smaller than the 19%–21% share it held from 2008–13. From 2017 until earlier this year, OPEC members and other partner countries had been voluntarily reducing crude oil production, which allowed some non-OPEC producers to increase their shares of China’s crude oil imports in recent years. In addition, in 2019, sanctions were placed on Iran and Venezuela that significantly affected their ability to export oil, reducing their shares of imports.

Russia remained the largest non-OPEC source of China’s crude oil imports in 2019, averaging 1.6 million b/d, or 15% of total crude oil imports. Brazil overtook Oman as the second-largest non-OPEC source of China’s crude oil imports, increasing by less than 0.2 million b/d to average 0.8 million b/d for the year. China’s crude oil imports from the United States declined韩国三级电影 in 2019, primarily as a result of trade negotiations that imposed tariffs on many U.S. goods, including crude oil (Figure 2 and Figure 3).

Figure 2. China's crude oil imports by source Figure 3. China's crude oil imports by source

韩国三级电影Several factors contributed to China’s increase in crude oil imports in recent years. Although China’s domestic crude oil production increased 0.1 million b/d in 2019—averaging 4.9 million b/d—it has remained essentially flat since 2012, ranging between 4.8 million b/d and 5.2 million b/d. In contrast, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) estimates China’s consumption of petroleum and other liquids grew 0.5 million b/d in 2019 to 14.5 million b/d. As a result, EIA estimates China’s net imports for crude oil and other liquids grew to 9.6 million b/d in 2019, an annual increase of 0.4 million b/d.

China’s crude oil imports also grew in 2019 because of strategic stockpiling of crude oil and increases in commercial crude oil inventories following refinery expansions, which require increases in storage as refineries begin operations. Last year, China’s refinery capacity increased by 1.0 million b/d, primarily because two new refining and petrochemical complexes came online with capacities of 0.4 million b/d each. As a result, the country’s refinery processing also increased to an all-time high in 2019, averaging 13.0 million b/d for the year.

EIA estimates China’s domestic consumption averaged 13.9 million b/d in the first quarter of 2020, a decline of 0.6 million b/d from the 2019 annual average, primarily as a result from the Chinese government’s containment measures related to the outbreak of the 2019 novel coronavirus disease (). China’s official crude oil import and petroleum consumption data could be delayed. The economic and transportation effects from this outbreak are still developing, and will likely affect China’s crude oil imports, refinery runs, and domestic consumption through the second quarter of 2020.

U.S. average regular gasoline and diesel prices fall

韩国三级电影The U.S. average regular gasoline retail price fell nearly 13 cents from the previous week to $2.25 per gallon on March 16, 30 cents lower than a year ago. The Midwest price fell nearly 20 cents to $2.04 per gallon, the East Coast price fell nearly 11 cents to $2.19 per gallon, the Gulf Coast price fell more than 9 cents to $1.97 per gallon, the West Coast price fell nearly 9 cents to $3.02 per gallon, and the Rocky Mountain price fell more than 6 cents to $2.32 per gallon.

韩国三级电影The U.S. average diesel fuel price fell more than 8 cents from the previous week to $2.73 per gallon on March 16, 34 cents lower than a year ago. The Midwest price fell nearly 10 cents to $2.59 per gallon, the West Coast price fell nearly 8 cents to $3.32 per gallon, the East Coast and Gulf Coast prices each fell more than 7 cents to $2.79 per gallon and $2.50 per gallon, respectively, and the Rocky Mountain price fell more than 6 cents to $2.74 per gallon.

Propane/propylene inventories decline

U.S. propane/propylene stocks decreased by 0.3 million barrels last week to 66.7 million barrels as of March 13, 2020, 16.9 million barrels (34.0%) greater than the five-year (2015-19) average inventory levels for this same time of year. East Coast and Midwest inventories decreased by 0.4 million and 0.1 million barrels, respectively. Gulf Coast and Rocky Mountain/West Coast inventories increased by 0.2 million and 0.1 million barrels, respectively. Propylene non-fuel-use inventories represented 8.0% of total propane/propylene inventories.

Residential heating fuel prices decrease

As of March 16, 2020, residential heating oil prices averaged $2.61 per gallon, more than 14 cents per gallon below last week’s price and nearly 61 cents per gallon lower than last year’s price at this time. Wholesale heating oil prices averaged almost $1.25 per gallon, nearly 22 cents per gallon below last week’s price and more than 84 cents per gallon lower than a year ago.

Residential propane prices averaged almost $1.94 per gallon, nearly 3 cents per gallon below last week’s price and almost 48 cents per gallon below last year’s price. Wholesale propane prices averaged more than $0.49 per gallon, nearly 4 cents per gallon lower than last week’s price and more than 34 cents per gallon below last year’s price.

For questions about This Week in Petroleum, contact the Petroleum Markets Team at 202-586-4522.

Tags: China , crude oil , exports/imports , international , liquid fuels , OPEC韩国三级电影

Retail prices (dollars per gallon)

Retail price graphs
  Retail prices Change from last
  03/16/20 Week Year
Gasoline 2.248 -0.127 -0.300
Diesel 2.733 -0.081 -0.337
Heating Oil 2.610 -0.141 -0.609
Propane 1.935 -0.027 -0.475

Futures prices (dollars per gallon*)

Futures price graphs
  Futures prices Change from last
  03/13/20 Week Year
Crude oil 31.73 -9.55 -26.79
Gasoline 0.899 -0.490 -0.959
Heating oil 1.137 -0.248 -0.831
*Note: Crude oil price in dollars per barrel.

Stocks (million barrels)

Stock price graphs
  Stocks Change from last
  03/13/20 Week Year
Crude oil 453.7 2.0 14.3
Gasoline 240.8 -6.2 -0.7
Distillate 125.1 -2.9 -7.1
Propane 66.730 -0.300 15.620