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CNOOC's first refinery in south to run at 70%

CNOOC'S first major refinery in southern China will run at 70 percent capacity in May, in line with earlier forecasts, and the refiner is working to obtain permits to export fuel before any big boost in operations, an industry official said yesterday.

The 70 percent ratio at the 240,000 barrel-per-day Huizhou refinery, which started in mid-March, compared with an average of more than 85 percent at major plants under refining giants Sinopec Corp and PetroChina, signalling still slow Chinese fuel demand.

"Any big jump in operations will really depend on domestic consumption and also outlets in the international markets," an official close to Huizhou's operations told Reuters.

The conservative operation rate, partly due to technical reasons to ensure safe runs at a newly-started refinery, may extend through June, according to the official.

CNOOC, new to China's refining business long controlled by Sinopec and PetroChina, has yet to obtain special export quotas for diesel and gasoline that are free from a 17-percent value added tax.


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