RIYADH: Oil prices fell more than $1 a barrel on Monday after Chinese officials on the weekend reiterated their commitment to a strict COVID containment approach, dashing hopes of an oil demand rebound at the world’s top crude importer.
Brent crude futures dropped $1.04, or 1.06 percent, to $97.53 a barrel by 08.10 a.m. Saudi time, after hitting as low as $96.50 earlier.
US West Texas Intermediate crude was at $91.39 a barrel, down $1.22, or 1.32 percent, dropping to a session low of $90.40 a barrel earlier in the session.
China’s crude oil imports rebound amid new refinery rollouts
China’s crude oil imports in October rebounded to the highest level since May, up 14 percent from a low base a year earlier in their first annual growth in five months, data showed on Monday, as two greenfield refineries prepared to start operations.
The world’s largest crude importer brought in 43.14 million tons of crude oil last month, equivalent to 10.16 million barrels per day, according to data from the General Administration of Customs.
The October imports were up from September’s 9.8 million bpd.
The rebound came as PetroChina started trial production at a 200,000-barrel-per-day crude unit at its newly-built refinery in Guangdong, while privately controlled Shenghong Petrochemical also got ready to officially launch its 320,000-bpd plant in Jiangsu province.
Refiners also took advantage of a slide in global crude prices to replenish stocks, hauling in cargoes from the Americas and the Middle East.
Imports for the first 10 months of the year totaled 413.53 million tons, or about 9.93 million bpd, 2.7 percent below the corresponding period last year.
However, year-to-date exports remained 24.5 percent below year-earlier levels at 39.91 million tons, due to a broad curb on fuel exports earlier in the year.
State oil companies in Kuwait get new CEOs
Kuwait appointed new leaders for its state oil companies, state news agency KUNA reported on Sunday.
Ahmed Jaber Al-Aydan was appointed as CEO of Kuwait Oil Co., and Wadha Al-Khateeb as CEO of Kuwait National Petroleum Co.
New leaders were also chosen for Kuwait Integrated Petroleum Industries Co. and other state companies in the sector.
Algerian energy minister defends OPEC+ output cut
Algerian Energy Minister Mohamed Arkab, during a hearing before the Finance and Budget Committee of the Algerian House of Representatives, said that the decision of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies, known as OPEC+, to reduce production by 2 million barrels per day “would maintain market balance and price stability within the range of $100 per barrel until the end of the year.”
He also noted that Algeria’s hydrocarbon exports rose 77 percent year-on-year to $42.6 billion in the period from January to September 2022, Reuters reported citing a state news agency.
(With input from Reuters)