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Asia Oil & Gas:Natural gas price cut possible benefits for distributors over producers in China

研究机构:摩根大通(亚太) 研究员:摩根大通(亚太)研究所 发布时间:2015-02-05

While China’s natural gas demand growth remains robust (up c11% y/y inFY14 with CNPC guiding c9% y/y this year), it looks increasingly possiblethat the NDRC may cut non-incremental natural gas prices in 1Q15 (see note),where PetroChina has most earnings exposure. In contrast, we do not see thepotential lower cost benefits having been fully priced-in to certain city gasdistributor names. While both China Oils and city gas distributor names’absolute and relative performance have been similar since September,earnings expectations of city gas distributors have had limited downwardrevisions over the corresponding period; with the exception of Kunlun Energy,a function of its upstream exposure. In contrast, we see more downside risksto market expectations for China Oils (JPMe is c50% and c30% belowconsensus for FY15/16 for CNOOC, PetroChina and Sinopec).

Full oil storage in China may cap potential oil price upside? Our recentenergy tour to China (see note) highlighted that Sinopec’s land oil storage isalmost full. It is one of the largest storage holders in the country and thecompany sees limits to incremental storage at China’s SPR. China may nowhold sufficient oil from commercial storage and SPR. Its commercialinventories released over a 60 day period would be the equivalent of c4mb/doil supply – the equivalent to the 4th largest oil producer globally, albeittemporarily. This together with high OECD inventories may cap potentialupside should supply/demand fundamentals tighten slightly.

Chinese refining margins to improve this month? Our China theoreticalrefining margins this month seems to be improving, albeit still in negativeterritory (-US$4.5/bl vs -US$15/bl in January), however, further weaknessin crude oil prices particularly as we approach refining maintenance season(see note) may see product prices falling again, pressuring refining marginslater this quarter.

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