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Downstream to the rescue for China

China's NOCs have had a few difficult years. But restructuring and a modest oil-price recovery are helping

The influence of the Beijing government on China's oil and gas sector continues unabated. According to data from the National Bureau of Statistics, in the first six months of 2017 output from oil refineries hit about 11.1m barrels per day, up 4% on 2016 and the highest level on record. This is mainly because independent refiners—the so-called teapots—were allowed to import more crude. Similarly, natural gas production rose by 8% to 74.1bn cubic metres for the same period as Beijing put pressure on industry to cut back on coal consumption. Also, the country's national oil companies (NOCs) are entering a new phase as the government pushes them to work more with private companies as a way of p

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