* April runs at 7-month low due to refinery maintenance
* Crude output declines less rapidly, positive growth seen
* Natural gas output in double-digit growth for 2nd straight
(Adds analyst quote, write through)
BEIJING, May 15 China's April refinery
throughput fell to its lowest level on a daily basis since last
September as some large state-owned refineries conducted planned
oil plant maintenance and crude oil output continued to drop.
April crude throughput was down 0.6 percent year on year to
44.45 million tonnes, or about 10.82 million barrels per day
(bpd), the lowest in seven months as several major plants
carried out planned shutdowns, according to data from the
National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).
The April throughput was 3.3 percent lower compared to the
11.19 million bpd level in March. Refineries had processed a
record amount of 11.26 million bpd in December as processors
ramped up output at the end of year due to attractive margins.
For the first four months of the year, crude throughput was
up 3.1 percent from a year ago at 182.25 million tonnes.
The NBS data on Monday also showed domestic crude output
fell 3.7 percent last month versus a year earlier to 15.99
million tonnes, or 3.89 million bpd.
Output for the first four months was down 6.1 percent on
year at 64.01 million tonnes.
Although still in negative growth, China's crude oil
production has been declining less rapidly in recent months and
is expected to post flat growth for the whole of 2017, said Seng
Yick Tee, analyst with consultancy SIA Energy.
"We expect crude oil output to recover more in the second
half to show positive growth, as a result of higher oil prices
and state oil companies boosting spending," said Tee.
Natural gas output rose 15 percent in April from a year
earlier at 12.2 billion cubic metres (bcm), extending for the
second month in a row double-digit growth that has not been seen
for more than three years.
Natural gas productions gained six percent on year at 50.9
bcm for the January-April period, the data showed.
China's gas consumption growth has been quickening since the
start of this year after a nearly three-year lull, according to
analysts, thanks to stronger demand from industrial and power
sectors under a government push to wean off coal addictions.
(1 tonne = 7.3 barrels for crude conversion)
(Reporting by Dominique Patton and Chen Aizhu; Editing by Tom