The Mideast Gulf region’s imports of clean petroleum products (CPP) from China are expected to rise in March compared with previous months, according to observed flows from Vortexa.

Planned refinery maintenance works at Mideast Gulf coast refineries during the first quarter curbed some regional production, against a background of rising clean product output and export from China following refinery capacity expansions in recent years.

March arrivals hauling Chinese clean product into the region included the long-range (LR1)-type vessel STI Experience, which loaded from Quanzhou port in the southern Chinese province of Fujian in mid-February. State-owned refiner Sinochem operates the Quanzhou refinery, which typically exports low sulphur gasoline and diesel.

STI Experience delivered a cargo, likely gasoline, to Fujairah, and was also observed conducting a ship-to-ship transfer (STS) onto the Alpine Venture which delivered to Saudi Arabia’s Jeddah port in mid-March. An associated shipping fixture showed Saudi Arabia’s state-run ATC chartering STI Experience to load 60,000t gasoline on 8-13 February along the Dalian to Fujairah route.

Another large March import arrived aboard the LR2 Mei Lin Wan, which co-loaded from Jinzhou port in the northeastern Liaoning province and Singapore, and subsequently discharged in Fujairah and Sohar, Oman. Liaoning province is home to several large refineries, including PetroChina’s Jinzhou refinery.

The LR1 Brook Trout also loaded from Jinzhou in early February and co-discharged at Iraq’s Khor Al Zubair port and Fujairah at the end of February/beginning of March.

Imports of Chinese clean products by the Mideast Gulf region look set to continue in April. Most recently the LR2 Maersk Petrel loaded from Jinzhou in mid-March, and is signalling its next destination as Sohar, where it could arrive in early April.