[BEIJING] China has granted five non-major refiners nearly 400,000 barrels per day (bpd) in quotas for imported crude oil, part of reforms that allow greater competition in a sector long dominated by state giants Sinopec and PetroChina.
The country's central planner, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), posted the final approvals on its website over the weekend.
The five refiners - four in the coastal province of Shandong and one in Ningxia - had earlier received preliminary approvals. The amount granted to Shandong's Dongying Yatong Petchem was cut to 2.76 million tonnes, from an initial 3.36 million tonnes.
The government has promised to open up the crude import market, and according to rules issued by the planning commission in February, smaller refiners can win quotas for imported crude oil if they meet certain environmental conditions, including the closure of old and polluting refining capacity.
Refiners can then apply to the commerce ministry for licenses to import crude directly, without having to use one of the state traders as an agent.
Two other refiners - Shandong Dongming Petrochemical Group and Panjin Beifang Asphalt Fuel Co - have already received crude quotas this year and also been granted licenses to handle their own shipments.