|China Petroleum & Chemical Corp refined 20 percent more crude oil in the first quarter compared with a year earlier to meet higher fuel demand from car owners and factories in the world's fastest-growing major economy.
Sinopec, as Asia's biggest refiner is known, processed 49.5 million metric tons of crude into oil products, the Beijing-based company said yesterday as it reported a 40 percent jump in profit for the first three months.
The refiner, assured a profit by the government for supplying fuels at state-mandated prices, has ramped up capacity and production and plans to raise more funds for expansion by selling bonds. Sinopec's crude oil processing in the first three months of 2010 outpaced BP Plc's 8 percent increase and Royal Dutch Shell Plc's 5 percent decline.
"The rapid Chinese economic recovery will continue to provide strong support to the consumption of oil products this year, and Sinopec undoubtedly will be the biggest beneficiary compared with its global peers," said Wang Aochao, head of China energy research at UOB-Kay Hian Ltd in Shanghai.
China will account for almost a third of global oil demand growth this year, according to the International Energy Agency, offsetting stagnant consumption in developed economies, particularly Europe. That's why Shell and BP are considering investing in new refineries and petrochemical plants in China.
Sinopec has advanced 8.3 percent in Hong Kong trading in the past year compared with the 40 percent gain in the Hang Seng Index. The shares rose 0.2 percent to HK$6.28 at 11:21 am local time.