The company in July combined the newly launched Zhongke refinery complex and a neighbouring old plant Dongxing Petrochemical, both based in the coastal city of Zhanjiang, and named the merged entity Zhongke Refining and Chemical Co.
Guangdong province is China’s top oil-consuming region. Sinopec alone operates nearly 1 million bpd of refining capacity in the province and rival PetroChina is building a new 400 000 bpd refinery.
The new entity has a crude refining capacity of 300 000 bpd and is due to start a new 800 000 tpy ethylene complex in September at the Zhongke plant.
The older Dongxing plant, which operates a 100 000 bpd crude unit, has since 2017 become China’s leading processor of US crude oil, mostly of low sulfur quality that fits the plant’s configuration, said a second official.
Between 2017 and 2019, Dongxing processed about 15 million bbl of West Texas Intermediate crude, replacing some of its previous regular imports from West Africa.
After a lull in US oil imports in 2019 due to souring relations with Washington, China since earlier this year has resumed US oil purchases following the Phase 1 trade deal agreed in January.
WTI crude typically gives a high yield of naphtha, a feedstock needed for the start-up of the Zhongke ethylene plant.
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