(EnergyAsia, June 29 2011, Wednesday) — Asian refiners are expanding their capacities and global market share at a time when potential rivals in the US, Europe and Japan are either exiting the business, reducing operations or restructuring their businesses.

India’s Bharat Petroleum Corp, Essar, Reliance and IOC, Malaysia’s state-run Petronas and China’s PetroChina and Sinopec are expanding their capacities primarily to serve the region’s rising fuel demand, but are also looking for exporting opportunities.

Oil refiners in the developed world are downsizing or selling off their plants in response to falling demand amid declining economic prospects.

Bharat is investing US$4 billion over the next three to four years to boost the refining capacity of its Kochi and Bina plants by 170,000 b/d while Petronas is bolstering its refining capacity by 50% to 935,300 b/d.

PetroChina has agreed to acquire two refineries in France and Scotland while Essar is taking over a Shell refinery in the UK.