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OIL AND GAS
Profits up 40 percent for Chinese oil and gas company Sinopec
by Daniel J. Graeber
Washington (UPI) Aug 28, 2017


Oil prices lift profit at China's Sinopec by 40%
Shanghai (AFP) Aug 28, 2017 - Asia's biggest oil refiner Sinopec said its first-half net profit jumped more than 40.1 percent thanks to a rise in oil prices and stable growth in China's economy, which fuelled demand for its refined products.

Sinopec -- the listed unit of state-owned China Petrochemical Corp. -- saw net profit surge to 27.92 billion yuan ($4.2 billion) in the January-June period, up from 19.92 billion yuan in the year-earlier period, it said in a statement late Sunday to the Hong Kong stock exchange, where it is listed.

A pick-up in international oil prices boosted Sinopec's crude business, while domestic consumption of its key refined oil products rose and demand for major chemical products grew "significantly", it said.

China registered stronger-than-expected economic growth in the first half, expanding 6.9 percent in both the first and second quarters.

World oil prices have firmed up but remain half of what they were before a 2014 plunge fuelled by a supply glut, overproduction and a weak global economy.

Sinopec said strong economic growth will continue to drive demand for its products in the second half and create new growth opportunities.

Investors in Hong Kong seemed to ignore the figures, with shares in the firm falling 2.22 percent, having climbed over the past week in advance of the earnings announcement.

But its shares in Shanghai, where it also is listed, gained 0.83 percent.

Last week, Chinese oil giant PetroChina said its net profit skyrocketed more than 2,000 percent in the first half and announced it would give the entire windfall to shareholders via a cash dividend.

Chinese oil and gas company Sinopec said net profit for the first half of the year was up 40 percent in response to domestic demand and higher crude oil prices.

The company, known formally as China Petroleum & Chemical, reported a net profit for the first six months of the year at $4.2 billion, up 40 percent from the same period last year. Net cash flow was down about three quarters of a percent, while operating income was up 30 percent from last year.

Globally, Sinopec said the economy experienced only moderate growth, while China maintained a steady rate with gross domestic product up by 6.9 percent year-on-year. The price for Brent crude oil, the global benchmark for the price of oil, is about 3.5 percent lower than where it started the year, though the company said the first-half average price was up 30.4 percent from the same period in 2016.

Russia is China's top crude oil supplier and July exports of 8.2 million barrels per day were 11.8 percent higher than the previous year. A report sent last week from JBC Energy Market found Chinese oil imports grew about 12 percent from last year.

Asian economies are expanding faster than many of their Western counterparts and supply and demand figures can have a pronounced impact on energy markets.

"Domestic consumption of refined oil products increased by 5.5 percent compared with the first half of 2016, among which gasoline and kerosene consumption maintained strong growth momentum, and diesel consumption reversed its downward trend and realized growth year on year," Sinopec declared in its financial statement. "Domestic demand for natural gas accelerated, up by 15.2 percent compared with the first half of 2016."

Looking ahead, Sinopec said it expected steady growth in the Chinese economy will drive demand in refined oil products, but natural gas demand would be "robust" as the nation's economy shifts toward cleaner energy resources.

Refinery throughput, the capacity for refining crude oil, increased 1.6 percent from last year. Crude oil production for Sinopec was down 5.3 percent while natural gas production grew 16.3 percent.

"For the second half of 2017, the international crude oil prices are expected to fluctuate at a low level," the company added.

OIL AND GAS
Norway's Statoil takes first steps into Argentina's lauded shale
Washington (UPI) Aug 25, 2017
Norwegian energy company Statoil said Friday it signed an agreement with Argentine company YPF to explore parts of the "world-class" Vaca Muerta shale basin. Statoil under the terms of the agreement took a 50 percent stake in the Bajo del Toro exploration permit in the Neuquén Basin alongside YPF. The Norwegian company said it would fund all of the costs associated with activities in t ... read more

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