TOKYO - Japan's biggest refiner, Nippon Oil Corp, plans to refine 4 percent less crude in June from a year ago, a company executive said on Friday, as domestic demand for oil products remains sluggish.
Oil sales in Japan, the world's third-biggest oil consuming
nation, are down as the population ages, homeowners, business
and drivers shifts towards greener energy, and the economy
wallows in its worst recession since World War Two.
The oil firm plans to refine 3.06 million kilolitres (642,000 barrels per day) in June, 140,000 kl less than last year, and a 24 percent decline from two years ago.
Last June, Nippon Oil faced a heavier planned maintenance
Its May crude refining volume for domestic demand was
estimated at 3.86 million kl, down 6 percent from a year earlier
and unchanged from its original plan, Masahito Nakamura, the
company's senior vice president, told reporters.
Nippon Oil, which plans to merge with smaller refiner Nippon
Mining Holdings Inc (5016.T) in April 2010, has a crude refining
capacity of 1.317 million barrels per day, more than a quarter
of Japan's total crude refining capacity.
May demand for fuel oil by nine Japanese utilities was seen
down 60 percent from a year earlier at 390,000 kl, the company
In May, the refiner bought 20,000 kl of middle distillates
from the domestic market and its exports totalled 540,000 kl of
middle distillates and fuel oil to Asia.
Following is a table of Nippon Oil's estimated production
for May and plans for June (volumes in kilolitres, with changes
from same month a year earlier in brackets):
Production May June
Gasoline 1.19 mln ( -10,000 kl) 1.11 mln (+210,000 kl)
Middle Dist. 2.02 mln (-160,000 kl) 1.67 mln (-120,000 kl)
C-fuel oil 0.64 mln (-250,000 kl) 0.49 mln (-230,000 kl)
(Reporting by James Topham, editing by Anthony Barker)