China's consumption of gasoline to grow 5-6% in 2011 – analyst

08 September 2011 06:02  [Source: ICIS news]

SINGAPORE (ICIS)--China's consumption of gasoline is set to grow by 5-6% year on year to 75.5m tonnes, or around 1.51m bbl/day, in 2011, on the back of higher car sales and ownership recorded last year, an industry analyst said on Thursday.

"Transportation in China's journey to industrialisation and urbanisation would still be the key driving factor for oil consumption," said Liao Na, editorial director of C1 Energy, an ICIS service in China.

Liao Na was speaking at the 27th Asia Pacific Petroleum Conference (APPEC 2011) in Singapore. The event runs from 6-8 September.

Historically high gas prices, however, have weighed on consumption in China this year, according to Liao Na.

Private car owners now tend to use public transportation, or even walk or cycle to their destinations because of climbing pump prices, she said.

The volume growth of automobile sales in China is expected to fall sharply in 2011 to 3-4% year on year, from more than 30% growth seen last year, Liao Na said.

Substitutes for gasoline such as mixed aromatics that are used as blending stocks, methanol and ethanol, are also being increasingly used in China because of favourable tax policies set in 2009, she said.

On the supply side, China is expected to see low expansion levels of its overall refining capacity in 2011-2012, with growth averaging at around 350,000 bbl/day or 2.3% year on year, according to Liao Na.

Around 300,000 bbl/day of new refining capacity is expected in 2011, the lowest growth since 2003, she said.

Expansion is set to peak in 2013, when China will see 1.1m-1.2m bbl/day being added to its total refining capacity until 2015, she said.

The central government's plan is to maintain yearly average expansion growth of the country's refining capacity at 600,000-700,000 bbl/day, Liao Na added.

By: Nurluqman Suratman

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