MRC -- China's fuel oil imports eased for a third consecutive month in September, hitting the lowest in the year so far, data from the General Administration of Customs showed on Friday, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.
Imports have eased in the third quarter amid high inventory levels, as bunker hub Zhoushan is well-supplied with local output and previous import purchases. Total fuel oil imports were down 25% from August at 1.04 million metric tons in September, though still 3% higher compared to the same month last year.
The imports included purchases under ordinary trade, which is subject to import duty and consumption tax, as well as imports into bonded storage. Imports tapered off in Q3 after extending robust gains through the first half of 2023, when independent refiners ramped up purchases for refinery feedstock usage.
Meanwhile, exports of low sulfur marine fuels, measured mostly by sales from bonded storage for vessels plying international routes, totaled 1.47 million tons in September, down 5% from August and easing 23% from a year earlier. Marine fuel sales have also trended steady to lower at other key global bunker hubs, with Singapore sales stable and Fujairah sales weakening in September.
Meanwhile, China's Sinopec Corp has also applied to the government to swap some of its marine fuel export quotas for allowances to export light products. The refiner has asked to swap a quota to export 800,000 metric tons of low-sulfur fuel oil, part of the 3 million tons of marine fuel quota recently issued by Beijing, for a similar amount of allowances for light product exports.
The table below shows China's fuel oil imports and exports in metric tons. The exports section largely captures China's low sulfur oil bunkering sales along its coast.
We remind, Navigator CO2 Ventures has canceled its Heartland Greenway pipeline project aimed at capturing 15 million metric tons of carbon dioxide annually from Midwest ethanol plants and storing it permanently underground, the company said on Friday, citing "unpredictable" state regulatory processes. The cancellation of one of the biggest projects of its kind is a setback to the development of carbon capture and storage (CCS) projects in the U.S., which are a pillar of President Joe Biden's climate strategy. It is also a blow to the ethanol industry, which sees CCS as key to cutting emissions from producing the fuel.