Nov 18 (Reuters) - Private investors in China have increasingly joined state majors in stockpiling crude oil, with companies this year taking advantage of decades-low oil prices and the Chinese economy's early recovery from the coronavirus pandemic. In total, China, which relies on imports for 70% of its crude needs, held about 1.16 billion barrels of crude in tanks at end-September, about 105 days worth of net imports, said Seng Yick Tee, senior director at consultancy SIA Energy. That includes the government's strategic petroleum reserves, which are estimated at 290 million to 370 million barrels by end-2020, according to consultancies Energy Aspect and SIA Energy. The rest is made up of commercial stocks owned by national refiners and independent firms, as well as inventories for refining operations. Private refiners and logistics firms have poured hundreds of millions of dollars into storage since independent refiners were first allowed to import crude oil in 2016. Depots have been added mostly in refining hubs Shandong and Liaoning province and free trade zone Zhoushan in Zhejiang. Refiners Shandong Hongrun Group, Zhejiang Petrochemical Corp and Hengli Petrochemical, as well as commodity trader Shandong Huaxin Industry and Trade Group are among the top private investors with a combined capacity of 180 million barrels as at end-2020, company officials told Reuters. The list below shows China's top independent crude storage operators, including port operators. Together they operate 317 million barrels space, or nearly 20% the country's total. Investors Location Capacity Capacity (mln (mln bbls) cu.m.) Shandong Hongrun Weifang, 81.9 13 Group Shandong Hengli Dalian, 43 6.8 Petrochemical Liaoning Dalian Port Dalian, 32.13 5.1 Liaoning Zhejiang Zhoushan, 29 4.6 Petrochemical Zhejiang Shandong Huaxin Rizhao, 26.5 4.2 Shandong Rizhao Port Rizhao, 8.7 1.38 Shandong Qingdao port Dongjiakou, 6.3 1 Shandong Mercuria Dongjiakou, 15.5 2.46 Shandong Yantai port Yantai, 9.45 1.5 Shandong Zhonggu Storage Zhoushan, 18.9 3 Zhejiang Shandong Wantong Dongying, 8.2 1.3 Group Shandong Shandong Baogang Shandong 7.3 1.16 Jinrun Group Zhoushan, 6.9 1.1 Zhejiang Zhoushan Zhongji Zhejiang 6.55 1.04 Chemical Dading Petroleum Zhejiang 6.55 1.04 Storage Guangdong Huizhou, 6.3 1 Huaying Guangdong Petrochemical Zhoushan Century Zhoushan, 4 0.8 Pacific Zhejiang Total 317.2 50.5 Source: Reuters' reports, Sublime China Information Below is China's strategic petroleum reserve stockfill updates based on government announcements and analysts. China's SPR in mln bbls stockpiling Nov-2014 91 Jun-2016 243 Jun-2017 275 *end-2020 290-370 *estimates by analysts (Reporting by Chen Aizhu in Singapore and Muyu Xu in Beijing; editing by Florence Tan and Richard Pullin)
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