(Updates with analyst quote in third paragraph and background
BEIJING, June 14 China's crude oil production
fell to its lowest on record in May, even as refineries in the
world's top buyer of crude churned out product at their fastest
pace in nearly two years, data showed on Wednesday.
Crude output fell 3.7 percent in May from a year earlier to
16.26 million tonnes, or 3.83 million barrels per day (bpd),
data from the National Bureau of Statistics showed on Wednesday.
The figure is the lowest since the bureau began publishing
records in 2011.
The drop in China's crude oil output has slowed as major oil
producers raised spending to boost production as oil prices have
stabilized in a range between $48 to $55 per barrel. Analysts
are forecasting flat or positive production growth for calendar
"Declining output this year comes as China's major oil
fields Daqing and Shengli announced production cuts at the
beginning of the year. The pace of decline in production will
ease this year due to higher crude prices," said Gao Jian, a
crude oil analyst with China Sublime Information Group.
PetroChina, the owner of China's largest oilfield Daqing,
said in December that it would slash capital spending on the
field this year by 20 percent from a year earlier.
Crude runs, meanwhile, rose in May by 5.4 percent from a
year ago to 46.62 million tonnes, or 10.98 million bpd. Overall
throughput was down from a record reached in March, but May
recorded the fastest rate of year-on-year growth since May 2015.
The refinery data highlights the concerns of a growing glut
of gasoline and diesel in the domestic and Asian market even as
demand slows. Sinopec Group, Asia's biggest refiner, is
considering cutting refinery runs in the third-quarter because
of the excess fuel supply in the country.
Natural gas output in May dipped to its lowest since
October, dropping by one-quarter from April to 12 billion cubic
meters. However, compared to a year ago, production rose 10.5
(Reporting by Meng Meng and Beijing Monitoring Desk; Writing by
Josephine Mason; Editing by Richard Pullin and Christian