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14.4.10



Refineries around the world will process nearly 1 million barrels per day (bpd) more oil in April-June from the same period last year with China and Asian countries raising output most, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said on Tuesday.

This is a jump of 300,000 bpd over the last estimate to 72.9 million bpd.

"The return of economic growth and hence oil demand growth is fuelling the increase," the Paris-based agency said on a day when it also raised this year's global oil demand forecast by 100,000 bpd to 1.67 million bpd.China's refinery output will jump by 900,000 bpd from a year ago to meet an anticipated 7.2% rise in oil product demand in 2010.

Higher output from China, Russia and parts of eastern Europe will more than offset a fall of 440,000 bpd in member countries of the Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development.

In Europe, where demand for oil products is thought to have already peaked, refinery throughputs fell to the lowest level in 17 years in February.

"There has been a sea change in the way the refining landscape has shifted to India and China. That's where the demand centre is," said Amrita Sen, oil analyst at Barclays Capital.

Capacity boost

The end of seasonal maintenance means that global runs will also rise from the first quarter when refiners processed 72.5 million bpd of crude oil.

"Global refinery shutdowns are believed to have peaked in March, with an estimated 6.8 million bpd of capacity shut down due to maintenance, economic closures or technical problems," the report said.

Still, rising demand is set to result in stock drawdowns.

"Swelling product inventories will likely go some way towards meeting increased demand in coming months, so year-on-year growth in refinery runs is not expected to match demand growth," it said.

Volumes of oil products in floating storage fell 22 million barrels to 52 million at the end of March from the same time in February, the report said.


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