| BEIJING, Sept 8
BEIJING, Sept 8 China completed construction
last month of 19 million barrels of new tanks for its state
crude oil reserves and expects to start filling them late this
year, two industry sources with knowledge of the project said on
The new tanks, built on Aoshan island off China's east
coast, were finished after several delays. They are able to
store about three days' worth of imports for the world's
second-biggest crude oil importer, next to the United States.
The facility was originally planned to start operation
around 2012, and analysts had anticipated in late 2015 the site
would be in use by the first quarter of this year.
"Construction was just completed last month. After necessary
government checks, the site shall be ready to fill late in the
year," said an industry source with direct knowledge of the
project. He declined to be named as he is not authorised to
speak to media.
The depots add to an existing state reserve tank farm at the
same site and take the total on Aoshan island to 50 million
barrels. The earlier batch of tanks of about 31.5 million
barrels were filled by early 2009, the sources said.
The new tanks come under phase two of Beijing's strategic
reserve plan, but have been delayed several times due to long
regulatory approvals and land use issues, said the two sources.
The site, including the new tanks, is operated by
state-owned Sinochem Corp, which has long owned
commercial storage in the Zhoushan area of Zhejiang province,
where Aoshan island is located.
A Sinochem spokesperson did not immediately respond to a
request for comment.
Beijing said last Friday that its state crude oil reserves
at the start of 2016 reached 31.97 million tonnes or 234 million
barrels, about enough to cover 33 days of net oil
China started the strategic stockipling programme in 2006
and aims for eventually holding 90 days' of net imports,
equivalent to the standard for OECD nations.
(Reporting by Chen Aizhu; Editing by Tom Hogue)