UPDATE 3-China issues first batch of crude oil import quotas for 2018

* State refiner ChemChina takes biggest share

* Several independents get bigger allocations in 2018

(Clarifies it's the first batch of quotas for 2018, adds latest approval, total quotas and imports for 2017) SINGAPORE/BEIJING, Dec 29 (Reuters) - China has issued crude oil import quotas totalling 121.32 million tonnes for 44 companies in its first batch of allowances for 2018, according to a source with direct knowledge of the matter and documents reviewed by Reuters on Thursday. State-owned ChemChina has the largest quota at 16.67 million tonnes, followed by North Huajin Chemical Industries Group with 7.47 million tonnes, the documents showed. China's imports are expected to hit another record in 2018 as new refining capacity is brought online and Beijing allows more independent refiners to import crude, with their robust demand growth helping to support global oil prices. The total allocated volume of the first batch of quotas equates to 2.43 million barrels per day. The Ministry of Commerce in November said it had raised the 2018 crude oil import quota for "non-state trade" to 142.42 million tonnes.

The ministry said in November the quotas would be issued in batches, with the first lot based on companies' actual purchases during the January to October period this year. China's commerce ministry could not be reached for comment on the first batch of 2018 quotas. China has surpassed the United States this year to become the world's biggest importer of crude oil.

GROWING QUOTAS FOR INDEPENDENTS China's state planner on Friday granted another independent refiner, Jiangsu Xinhai Petrochemical Co, a preliminary crude import quota of 2.3 million tonnes for 2018, indicating it could continue to allow more companies to import crude. Beijing could also allocate more quotas to two new refineries built by Dalian Hengli Petrochemical and Zhejiang Rongsheng when they come on line next year, Chinese trade sources said. Among independent refiners, Haiyou Chemical's allocation for 2018 tripled from this year, while Shandong Wonfull Petrochemical's quota nearly doubled, according to Reuters data. Chambroad Petrochemical, Baota Petrochemical and Sinochem Hongrun can also import more crude next year. Beijing issued quotas to independent refiners for 2017 totalling 93.2 million tonnes, about 22 percent of China's imports for the year at 421.5 million tonnes, according to Reuters data and estimates by Thomson Reuters Supply Chain and Commodities Research. Independent refiners imported about 64 million tonnes of crude in the first 11 months this year, estimates by the research team showed. State oil companies and their refining and trading subsidiaries will have a quarter of the crude import quotas for 2018, the documents showed. The quotas do not apply to China's five state-owned major oil companies such as PetroChina and Sinopec, which are allowed to import crude freely.

China's crude import quota in 2018

Company 2018 Dongming Petrochemical 6750 Panjin Beifang Asphalt Fuel 6300 Sinochem Hongrun 5300 Lijin Petrochemical 3150 Kenli Petrochemical 2270 Baota Petrochemical 1080 Yatong Petrochemical 2480 Wonfull Petrochemical (Huifeng) 4160 Shouguang Luqing Petrochemical 2320 Tianhong Chemical 3960 Chambroad Petrochemical (Jingbo) 2980 Qirun Chemical 1980 Haiyou Petrochemical 3200 Hengyuan Petrochemical 3150 Wudi Xinyue Chemical 1920 Qingyuan Group 3640 Shenchi Chemical 2270 Jincheng Petrochemical 2700 Hebei Xinhai Chemical 3350 Shandong Zhonghai Fine Chemical 1860 Shaanxi Yanchang Petroleum Group 3600 Jinao Science and Technology Hubei 2300


Henan Fengli Petrochemical 2000 Zibo Xintai Petrochemical 2000 Shandong Qingyishan Petrochemical 3000


Yuhuang Shengshi Chemical Co 1440 Dongfang Hualong Group 3000 Shandong Qicheng Petrochemical Co 1600 Shandong Shengxing Chemical Co 2200 Haike Chemical Group 1890 Rizhao Landbridge Port Petrochemical Co 1800 Dalian Jinyuan Petrochemical Co 800 PetroChina International 1490 PetroChina International Guangxi Co 570 PetroChina International Horgas Co 800 PetroChina International Alashankou Co 580 Sinopec International Petroleum 800

Exploration & Production Corp

Sinopec Zhanjiang Dongxing 1310

Petrochemical Co

Fujian Refining & Petrochemical Co 120 CNOOC Beijing Trading Co 620 North Huajin Chemical Industries Group 7470


Zhenhua Oil 80 ChemChina 16670 Huayue Group 360 Total 121320

Unit: 1000 tonnes Source: trade

(Reporting by Florence Tan in SINGAPORE; Additional reporting Hogue)