PetroChina profits rise on strong crude and gas sales

A gas station attendant pumps fuel into a customer's car at PetroChina's petrol station in Beijing, China. (Reuters/File)
Updated 29 August 2019

PetroChina profits rise on strong crude and gas sales

  • PetroChina earlier this month started to drill its first shale oil well in China’s southwestern province of Sichuan

BEIJING: PetroChina, Asia’s largest oil and gas producer, said on Thursday first half 2019 net profit rose 3.6 percent from a year earlier, driven up by increasing crude oil and natural gas sales.

For the first six months of 2019, the company earned 28.42 billion yuan ($4.01 billion), PetroChina said in a filing to the Hong Kong stock exchange. Total revenue for the state-backed company was 1.12 trillion yuan, up 6.8 percent from the same period in 2018.

Profit for the April to June quarter was 18.17 billion yuan, the highest since the third quarter last year, according to calculations by Reuters. That compares with 16.94 billion yuan in the same period a year earlier and 10.25 billion yuan in the first quarter of this year.

Over the first six months of 2019, PetroChina produced a total of 451.9 million barrels, or 2.5 million barrels per day, up 3.2 percent from the same period in 2018. 

It also reported a 3.1 percent increase in crude oil throughput at its refineries to 597.4 million barrels, or 3.3 million barrels per day.

With Beijing’s push to boost domestic energy production, PetroChina invested 12.27 billion yuan in upstream exploration in the first half of 2019, 14 percent more compared to the same period last year.

Chinese energy companies have said they plan to raise spending on domestic drilling this year to the highest since 2016 to safeguard the country’s energy security.

PetroChina earlier this month started to drill its first shale oil well in China’s southwestern province of Sichuan and vowed to double natural gas output in the region to 50 billion cubic meters by 2025.

“In the second half of the year, the company will vigorously implement centralized exploration in key regions ... and focus on shale gas production to increase production,” it said.

The company also addressed the risk of an economic downturn, excessive domestic oil refining capacity and the restructuring of oil and gas pipelines system.

“Looking forward, we will focus more on the Belt and Road Initiative ... and will increase the natural gas percentage in our overseas portfolio to optimize the asset structure,” PetroChina Executive Director and President Hou Qijun said.

Oil slumps more than 4% on coronavirus fears

Updated 28 February 2020

Oil slumps more than 4% on coronavirus fears

  • Traders fret about impact of spreading virus on crude demand, particularly from China

LONDON: World oil prices tumbled by more than 4 percent on Thursday, as traders fretted about the impact of spreading coronavirus on crude demand, particularly from key consumer China.

Brent oil for April delivery tanked almost 4.2 percent to $51.20 per barrel, while New York’s WTI crude for the same month dived nearly 5 percent to $46.31.

“Concerns that the virus will prompt a global slowdown, weaker consumer confidence and reduced travel has raised concerns about lower demand, weighing on prices,” said CMC Markets analyst Michael Hewson.

Investors are growing increasingly fearful about the economic impact of the new coronavirus or COVID-19 outbreak. 

The virus continues to spread meanwhile, with Brazil reporting Latin America’s first case, and Denmark, Estonia, Greece, Georgia, Norway and Pakistan following suit.

Around 2,800 people have died in China and more than 80,000 have been infected. There have been more than 50 deaths and 3,600 cases in dozens of other countries, raising fears of a pandemic.

The spread of the virus to large economies including South Korea, Japan and Italy has raised concerns that growth in fuel demand will be limited. 

Consultants Facts Global Energy forecast oil demand would grow by 60,000 barrels per day in 2020, a level it called “practically zero,” due to the outbreak.

US President Donald Trump sought to assure Americans on Wednesday evening that the risk from coronavirus remained “very low,” but global equities resumed their plunge, wiping out more than $3 trillion in value this week alone.

“The negative price impact would intensify if the coronavirus were declared pandemic by the World Health Organization, something that looks imminent,” said PVM Oil Associates analyst Tamas Varga.

“The mood is gloomy and the end of the tunnel is not in sight – there is no light ahead just darkness. Not even a refreshingly positive weekly US oil report was able to lend price support.”

Gasoline stockpiles dropped by 2.7 million barrels in the week to Feb. 21 to 256.4 million, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) said on Wednesday, amid a decline in refinery throughput. Distillate inventories fell by 2.1 million barrels to 138.5 million.

US crude oil stockpiles increased by 452,000 barrels to 443.3 million barrels, the EIA said, which was less than the 2-million-barrel rise analysts had expected.

The crude market is watching for possible deeper output cuts by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies including Russia, a group known as OPEC+.

“Oil is in freefall as the magnitude of global quarantine efforts will provide severe demand destruction for the next couple of quarters,” said Edward Moya, senior market analyst at OANDA. 

“Expectations are growing for OPEC+ to deliver deeper production cuts next week.”

OPEC+ plans to meet in Vienna on March 5-6.