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PetroChina reports record interim net profit on refining surge

(Reuters) - State-owned energy giant PetroChina reported a record-high net profit for the first half of the year, driven by increased oil and gas output and resurgent refined fuel sales.

Net profit attributable to shareholders was 85.3 billion yuan ($11.70 billion), up 4.5% on the same period last year, according to a filing with the Hong Kong Stock Exchange on Wednesday.

Total revenue was down 8.3% to 1.48 trillion yuan, due to a sustained fall in global oil prices after an initial spike in the immediate aftermath of Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

The company reported realized crude oil prices of $74.15 per barrel, having slid 21.7% on the average for the same period last year.

However, PetroChina's total crude oil and natural gas equivalent output was 893.8 million barrels, representing a 5.8% increase on last year, supporting a 3.7% increase in operating profit for the group's upstream segment.

Domestic crude output rose 1.2%, whilst the development of key projects in Central Asia and the Middle East saw overseas crude production leap 27.8% over the period.

Total domestic refinery throughput for the first half was 673 million barrels, a 12.6% increase on last year when extensive COVID-19 lockdowns hammered demand for refined fuel products in the country.

The group previously announced aims to raise crude throughput to 1.29 billion barrels this year, up 6.6% from 2022.

Operating profit from the group's sales segment jumped 28.4% on last year. Total sales volume of gasoline, kerosene and diesel for the period increased 12.9% to 80.7 million metric tons, with domestic sales accounting for around 74% of this.

While domestic demand for transport fuels such as kerosene and gasoline has rebounded with the removal of travel restrictions, the group saw weaker earnings from petrochemical products such as polypropylene, amid a glut of domestic supply.

Capex for the first half was 85.1 billion yuan, down 7.8% on last year. PetroChina had previously set a capex target of 243.5 billion yuan for 2023, which would represent an 11% drop on last year.

Looking forward to the second half of the year, the group stated it will "further deepen cooperation in overseas oil and gas markets, actively acquire large-scale and high-quality projects and continuously optimize asset structure".

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