China’s refinery crude throughput rose 4.4% year on year to 51.17 million mt, or an average 12.10 million b/d, in December, preliminary data released by the National Bureau of Statistics on Monday showed. The December crude throughput was down 1.9% from November on a barrels per day basis, the third consecutive month-on-month decline since hitting a record high of 12.54 million b/d last September, according to S&P Global Platts calculations.

Over January-December, total refinery crude throughput rose 6.8% year on year to 603.57 million mt, or 12.12 million b/d, NBS data showed.  The year-on-year growth was attributed mainly to higher run rates at both state-owned refineries and independent refineries in 2018.  China’s state-owned refiners — Sinopec, PetroChina, Sinochem and China National Offshore Oil Corporation — ran at an average rate of 82% of nameplate capacity in 2018, up from 79% in 2017, according to Platts’ surveys.

Independent refineries in Shandong operated at an average rate of around 63% in 2018, up from around 60% in 2017, according to data from JLC, a Chinese energy information provider.  China’s crude oil production in December rose 2% year on year to 16.33 million mt, or 3.86 million b/d, according to NBS data.  The total was also up 1.73% month on month on a barrel per day basis, Platts calculations showed.

Over January-December, China’s domestic crude oil output fell 1.3% on the year to 189.11 million mt, averaging 3.80 million b/d.  China’s natural gas production rose 10% year on year to 15.3 Bcm in December, and rose 7.5% year on year to 161 Bcm over January-December, NBS data showed.