Aviation Fuel Consumption in China Set to Surge by 13% in 2024

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In 2024, China is anticipated to witness a 13.1% increase in aviation fuel consumption, marking a continuation of the significant recovery observed last year in passenger travel. However, projections from the China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) Economic & Technology Research Institute (ETRI) suggest that crude oil imports into the country may experience minimal growth. The forecast indicates aviation fuel usage could reach 39.3 million metric tons, while crude oil imports might see a slight rise of 0.1%, amounting to 565 million metric tons or approximately 11.3 million barrels per day (bpd).

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The demand for kerosene, essential for aviation, is expected to climb as China’s demand for international air travel gradually rebounds in a post-COVID travel environment. Despite this recovery, international air traffic was still below pre-pandemic levels at the end of 2023, operating at only 53% according to LSEG data.

The broader economic challenges have impacted diesel demand, a crucial fuel for the logistics and construction sectors, with consumption expected to decrease by 2.8% to 196 million metric tons. On the contrary, gasoline usage is projected to increase by 1.3% to 165.1 million metric tons. This growth comes as analysts predict that China’s gasoline demand may reach its peak between 2024 and 2025 due to the rapid adoption of electric vehicles (EVs). EV sales are forecasted to make up 40% of the estimated 23 million total auto sales this year.

Furthermore, the national crude oil throughput is anticipated to grow by 1.8%, setting a new record at 752 million tons or 15.04 million bpd. The average refinery utilization rate is expected to slightly decrease to 78.3% from last year’s 78.9%, according to CNPC’s analysis. This outlook reflects China’s evolving energy consumption patterns amidst a shifting global landscape and the nation’s ongoing commitment to expanding its electric vehicle market.

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