Sinopec sees 43 pct rise in Brazil oil imports in 2011
* Brazilian crude imports to reach 200,000 bpd next yr
* Brazil oil supply part of loan-for-oil deal made in 2009
* Fuel sales reaching record, demand strong
BEIJING, May 18 - Top Asian refiner Sinopec Corp expects to raise its crude oil imports from Brazil by 43 percent to 200,000 barrels per day next year from 2010, company executives said on Tuesday.
Part of a 2009 deal under which China lent Brazil $10 billion in return for a guaranteed supply of 200,000 bpd of oil for 10 years, supplies from Brazil started surging this year as China raised its overall crude imports to new highs.
China's imports of Brazilian crude rose two-thirds in the first quarter this year over a year earlier to 1.92 million tonnes, or 156,000 bpd, Chinese official customs data showed.
China, the world's second-largest oil consumer, posted record rates both in refinery output and crude imports last month, following seven months of double-digit growth in apparent oil demand.
"We are posting record refined products sales in April," Sinopec Corp's spokesman Huang Wensheng told reporters. He declined to give the detailed volume.
Zhang Jianhua, Sinopec Corp's vice president in charge of sales and trade, said the firm's daily fuel sales have now reached 390,000 tonnes, a volume 7 percent higher than the average daily sales in the first three months as reported by the company last month.
"There are three reasons behind these strong numbers: domestic demand is growing strongly, our fuel exports are high, and fresh demand from the new ethylene plants," said Huang.
Vice president Zhang also estimated that the firm's total exports of gasoline, diesel and kerosene will not exceed 10 million tonnes this year.
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