Spain's Cepsa expects COVID-19 to keep squeezing oil refining margins

Spanish oil company Cepsa said it expects the coronavirus pandemic to keep downward pressure on its refining margins and demand for refined products in Europe in the next few months.

The profit it makes per barrel of oil rebounded to $2.40 in the fourth quarter of 2020 from $0.50 in the third, but was still more than 35% lower than in the same period of the previous year.

The Madrid-based company, which is owned by Abu Dhabi state fund Mubadala and private equity firm Carlyle, said it ended 2020 with positive free cash flow and would set out a plan to address a global shift to lower-carbon fuels in the coming months.

"The COVID-19 pandemic also acted as a catalyst for the energy transition," Chief Executive Philippe Boisseau said in a statement.

(Reporting by Isla Binnie; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)

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