China’s crude oil throughput in May rose 8.2% year-on-year (YoY) following independent refiners increasing production in response to the growing fuel demand as coronavirus lockdown restrictions ease, according to Reuters.

China processed a total of 57.9 million tonnes of crude oil in May, the equivalent of 13.63 million barrels of oil per day (mmbbl/d). This represents the second-highest volume ever, slightly lower than the 58.51 million tonnes in December 2019.

For the first five months of the year, throughput has averaged 12.55 mmbbl/d, a 1% decrease from 2019’s levels due to large processing cuts in February and March this year.

Data also showed China’s crude oil output was 3.88 mmbbl/d in May, up 1.3% from the same month a year earlier. Output for the January to May period was 80.9 million tonnes, 1.9% above the year-earlier period. Concerning natural gas, output last month increased 12.7% YoY to 15.9 billion cubic metres (bcm), and was 78.8 bcm for the first five months of 2020.

China’s independent plants constitute roughly one third of national refinery throughput.