China yesterday gave private refineries the green light to import crude oil, opening up a heavily monopolized sector.
According to new rules, to qualify non-state companies must have an annual refining capacity of more than 2 million tons and meet efficiency and environmental standards. They should also have storage capacity for at least 300,000 tons of crude, with terminals that can handle more than 50,000 tons.
China is one of the world’s largest oil buyers, with nearly 60 percent of its consumption coming from imports. Crude imports are dominated by state-run giants such as Sinopec, CNPC and CNOOC.
There are already more than 20 qualified non-state importers, but they have limited quotas.
Xinjiang Guanghui Petroleum last year became the first private firm since 2008 to be granted approval to import crude.