PetroChina Profit Falls on Weak Demand for Oil Products

PetroChina Co., China’s biggest oil and gas producer, posted an 8 percent decline in first-quarter profit as a weakening economy reduced demand for oil products.

Net income fell to 36 billion yuan ($5.84 billion), or 0.20 yuan a share, in the three months ended March 31 from 39.2 billion yuan, or 0.21 a share, a year ago, the Beijing-based energy explorer and refiner said today in a statement to the Shanghai Stock Exchange. The average estimate of six analysts surveyed by Bloomberg was a profit of 34.3 billion yuan.

China, the world’s second-biggest oil consumer, shortened its price-adjustment window to 10 days from 22 to help refiners more closely reflect price changes in the global crude market. PetroChina, the country’s second-biggest refiner behind China Petroleum & Chemical Corp., reported a 4.74 billion yuan refining loss in the first quarter, compared with a 10.8 billion yuan loss a year ago.

“Due to the macroeconomic situation, there was weak demand for refined products and chemicals market remains in a downturn,” PetroChina said in the statement.

Oil and gas output climbed 2.8 percent to 355.3 million barrels of oil equivalent in the first quarter. Crude oil output reached 231 million barrels in the three months, an increase of 1.8 percent from last year, according to the statement. Average realized crude price was $103.08 a barrel, down 2.3 percent.

The shares gained 1.4 percent to close at HK$9.69, before the earnings announcement. The stock has declined 13 percent in the past year, compared with a 8.5 percent gain in the benchmark Hang Seng Index.