SINOPEC DOWN 22%
China Petroleum & Chemical Corp., Asia's biggest oil refiner, posted a 22 percent decline in profit for the first half of the year as the slump in prices outweighed the benefit of cheaper crude to its refining business.
Net income dropped to 25.4 billion yuan ($4 billion), or 0.21 yuan a share, from 32.5 billion yuan, or 0.28 yuan, a year earlier, the Beijing-based company, known as Sinopec, said in a statement to the Hong Kong stock exchange Wednesday.
Sinopec sought to counter the fall in crude by increasing oil refining, which along with marketing accounted for half of the company's revenue last year. Refinery runs rose 2.7 percent to almost 119 million tons, while upstream output dropped 1.8 percent from a year earlier to about 233 million barrels of oil equivalent, the company said last month.
Brent, benchmark for half the world's crude, averaged about $59 a barrel in the first half of the year, down 45 percent from the same period in 2014. Sinopec's
"Upstream performance remains an area of concern with declining domestic oil and gas production," Neil Beveridge, an analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. in Hong Kong, said before the earnings. "Sinopec will benefit from a substantially better downstream performance as a result of lower feedstock prices" for the rest of the year, he said.
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