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China still thirsty

Forget the rumours, Chinese imports of oil – for refining and strategic storage – are rising again

China's teapot refineries are unexpectedly playing a bigger role in crude imports as the country continues to top up its Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) faster than expected. Combining the unexpected burst of activity by these independents with large-scale buying by the state-owned oil giants, analysts expect China to remain an important net importer of crude throughout 2017, despite the firming of oil prices since the Opec deal. Armed with new import licences issued by the National Energy Administration (NEA), in the first six months of 2016 the teapots on average imported a combined 3.23m tonnes of crude a month (about 0.78m barrels a day), roughly double the volumes of 2015. The refin

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