China Petroleum & Chemical Corp. (386)’s refinery in southern Hainan province will raise oil processing by 3 percent this month to boost gasoline supplies in the domestic market, a company official said.
 
The plant will refine 700,000 metric tons of crude this month, compared with 680,000 tons in February, said the official, who declined to be identified because of company rules. The 8- million-ton-a-year refinery has halted reformate exports since January as domestic demand for auto fuel rises, according to the official. Reformate is an unfinished form of gasoline that’s aromatic-rich and high in octane.
 
The Hainan refinery won’t export any reformate in the second quarter, the official said. Gasoline inventory at Sinopec, or China Petroleum, dropped “quite quickly,” according to the official, who didn’t elaborate.
 
Sinopec, the nation’s largest oil refiner, is studying using “price leverage” to spur its refining units to boost gasoline output, President Wang Tianpu was quoted as saying in a statement on its parent’s website March 9. Sinopec’s second- largest oil refinery, Maoming in Guangdong province, halted exports of gasoline, the plant’s head Yu Xizhi said March 8.
 
China’s gasoline supply has been tight since the beginning of the year after small domestic refineries, known as teapots, reduced oil processing because of losses while demand gained from rising vehicle sales, said the official.
 
 
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