The country processed 59.47 million tonnes of crude oil in August, or 14 million barrels per day (bpd), up 9.2 per cent from a year earlier, according to data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).
That is second only to the record of 59.56 million tonnes in July and up from 54 million tonnes in August 2019.
Total throughput during the first eight months of 2020 reached 438.03 million tonnes, or 13.1 million bpd, up 3.2 per cent from the same period in 2019.
Chinese oil refineries have been cranking up production since May to digest record-high crude oil imports and to meet fuel demand that rebounded after coronavirus restrictions eased.
But domestic fuel consumption is peaking and overseas markets remain tepid, weighing refineries down with excess supplies that could force them to ship more despite poor export margins.
“We expect throughput at refineries to fall in September as fuel inventory is too high, whereas supply continues to increase,” said Wang Zhao, analyst at China-based Sublime Information.
The NBS data also showed China’s oil output in August at 16.65 million tonnes, up 2.3 per cent from the same month a year earlier. Over the January to August period, China produced 130.15 million tonnes of crude oil, up 1.5 per cent on the year.
Natural gas output last month increased 3.7 per cent from a year earlier to 14.2 billion cubic metres (bcm), the bureau reported, while January to August production grew 8.8 per cent from a year earlier to 122.5 bcm.