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China is building mega refineries just as fuel demand stalls

China is making huge investments in mega refineries at a time when fuel demand is expected to peak within the next five years. This could flood the market with cheap oil exports.

Photo: AHMED JADALLAH/REUTERS / X90013

China is investing tens of billions of dollars in new mega-refineries even as its fuel demand is expected to peak within five years, raising the risk it will flood the region with cheap exports.

At least four projects with about 1.4 million barrels a day of crude-processing capacity, more than all refineries in the U.K. combined, are under construction. That’s after the country already added 1 million barrels since the start of 2019. All that capacity will add more petroleum products and plastics just as China National Petroleum Corp. sees fuel demand peaking in 2025 as electric vehicles sap consumption.

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