August 15, 2019

China will delegate the power to municipal-level governments to license the retailing of refined oil, as part of its efforts to deepen market reforms, according to a regular meeting held by the State Council on July 31.
The delegation, which may be aimed to pave the way for the marketization of refined oil retailing, will simplify the procedures and make it easier for companies to obtain licenses.
It is not clear yet when the new regulation will take effect.
The new rule is not expected to prompt a surge in investment in petrol stations, as the country already has an oversupply of refined oil and competition between petrol stations are becoming increasingly intense. Before the end of 2018, China had got over 100,000 petrol stations, with more than 50% held by Sinopec and PetroChina, while about 43% were private ones and the rest were owned by other state-owned companies or foreign ones, JLC data shows. Some companies are still building or planning to build petrol stations in China, including BP, Shell, independent refiners and some state-owned oil companies.
Under current regulations on the refined oil market, companies should submit their applications for oil retailing to the municipal-level bureau of finance, before the applications can be handed over to the provincial ministry of financial for final approval.