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Sinopec Notches up Business Expansion

China Petroleum & Chemical Corp (Sinopec), Asia's largest oil refiner, said its crude run increased by 19.2 percent year-on-year in the first half of the year, to keep pace with the country's surging demand for oil products.

The company processed 64.98 million tons of crude oil into fuel in the first six months, compared with 54.5 million tons during the same period last year, Sinopec said in a statement.

Gasoline production increased 11.7 percent year-on-year to 11.4 million tons and diesel output jumped by 24.9 percent to 24.7 million tons, while kerosene surged by 23.7 percent to 3.0 million tons in the first half, the company said.

"Production surged largely as a result of great demand from power generation and transportation," said Liu Gu, an oil analyst with Guotai Jun'an (Hong Kong) Securities.

China's consumption of refined oil products, such as gasoline, diesel and kerosene, surged by more than 20 percent in the first half of this year, on the back of rapid production expansion in energy-intensive industries, such as steel, electricity, cement and automobiles.

This leap in consumption growth has also helped most oil companies reap windfalls. Sinopec announced last week that its net profits for the first half of this year may surge by more than half based on mainland accounting standards.

Sinopec said between January and June, oil products sales, including gasoline and diesel, rose 29.1 percent year-on-year to 45.5 million tons.

Retail sales surged by 45 percent to 25.1 million tons. The company has been working to expand its lucrative retail business by acquiring thousands of filling stations lately.

(China Daily July 20, 2004)

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