China will invest US$3bn on new refinery units able to process cheaper, lower-quality Middle East crude oil to reduce its annual import bill by 20%, The Standard of Hong Kong reported, citing oil industry experts in Singapore and the Middle East. Sour crude is less expensive than low-sulfur, or sweet crude, because it yields less light fuel. China Petroleum, PetroChina and West Pacific Petrochemical are building at least 10 sulfur-reducing units. Over two years, their investments will increase the profit on each barrel processed. The expansion in China also could have global implications, easing a global shortage of capacity to handle oil from Saudi Arabia and other producers of high-sulfur oil.
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