(adds comment, link to previous stories of China refinery cuts)
SINGAPORE, Feb 5 (Reuters) - China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) is lowering crude oil throughput this month at a refinery in south China by about 8% from the original plan as the coronavirus cuts demand for its refined fuel, a company source said on Wednesday.
The 240,000 barrels per day (bpd) plant in Huizhou, Guangdong province, will process about 220,000 bpd in February, the source, who has direct knowledge of the plant’s operations, told Reuters.
CNOOC did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.
The decision to cut output was made on Tuesday as CNOOC started to receive feedback from its refined fuel customers that demand was falling faster than expected because of the spread of coronavirus.
The cut at a similar level will be extended into March, said the source, who declined to be named as he is not authorised to talk to the press.
At the same site, CNOOC has kept operations at another 200,000-bpd capacity refinery unchanged at 70% utilisation, the source added.
Reuters reported on Monday that China’s Sinopec, Asia’s top refiner, has lowered its throughput this month by around 12% in the steepest cut in more than a decade and independent refineries in east China’s Shandong have reduced operations by 30%-50%. (Reporting by Chen Aizhu in Singapore and Muyu Xu in Beijing, editing by Louise Heavens and Barbara Lewis)