PetroChina logs best-ever profit, benefits from high global energy prices

PetroChina released its best-ever H1 results as the country’s top oil and gas driller benefited from rising global energy prices, and said government stimulus is starting to lift Chinese oil demand.

The company reported net income of 82.39 billion yuan ($12 billion) for the first half of the year, up 55 percent from the same period in 2021, according to a stock report Thursday. Revenue rose 35 percent to 1.61 trillion yuan.

Global crude oil prices averaged $105 a barrel for the first six months, up 62 percent year-on-year, giving producers a windfall after several years of low prices. PetroChina has invested heavily in maintaining steady oil production while ramping up gas production to meet the country’s goal of developing cleaner fuels.

Cnooc Ltd., PetroChina’s smaller state-owned competitor, more than doubled its first-half profit to 71.9 billion yuan. Cnooc is more directly exposed to soaring oil prices than PetroChina because it’s primarily focused on offshore drilling and doesn’t have massive refineries and petrochemical plants. China Petroleum & Chemical Corp., Asia’s largest refiner, finalized earnings reports for China’s three big oil companies on Sunday. PetroChina also announced a 3.1 percent increase in oil and gas production to 845 million oil-equivalent barrels in response to Beijing’s mandate to improve domestic energy supplies amid an increasingly complex geopolitical environment.

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Benchmark Brent oil prices rose to a 13-year high above $130 a barrel in early March on the prospect of a supply disruption after Russia invaded Ukraine and Western countries vowed to enforce an embargo on Russian oil.

PetroChina saw 3.4 percent growth in domestic oil production and a 4.4 percent increase in domestic gas production. PetroChina’s capital expenditures totaled 92.31 billion yuan in the first half of 2022, up 25 percent from a year ago, as the company ramped up oil and gas exploration. That was 38 percent of the annual budget this year.

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PetroChina’s refining throughput fell 1.4 percent to 597.5 million barrels in the first half of 2022, while sales of gasoline, diesel and kerosene combined fell 11.1 percent to 71.43 million tons.

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