China Petroleum and Chemical Corporation (Sinopec), Asia's biggest oil refiner, saw its first half net profit fell 73.4 percent over the same period last year.
The company's net profit was 9.34 billion yuan in the first six months, or 0.108 yuan per share under China's accountant rule, said the Sinopec in its half-year report on Sunday.
The company processed 84.25 million tonnes of crude oil during the January to June period, up 6.7 percent over the same period last year. It produced 51.52 million tonnes of petroleum and diesel during the same period, up 10.1 percent over the same period a year earlier.
In the first half, Sinopec sold 63.02 million tonnes of refined oil, representing an increase of 8.8 percent over the same period last year.
Sinopec attributed the declining profit to surging world oil prices, and the big losses in its refinery sector. The leading refiner confirmed losses of 46 billion yuan in its refinery sector.
The country's oil companies have been losing money for each barrel of foreign oil they refined and sold to domestic consumers as they could not pass along the increase under the government-set refined oil prices, market analysts said.
World crude prices had surged more than 50 percent since November and now hovered around 113 U.S. dollars per barrel.
In face of the soaring world crude price, the government raised the benchmark gasoline and diesel oil retail prices to 6,980 yuan and 6,520 yuan per tonne in June, up more than 16 percent and 18 percent, respectively.
Meanwhile, the Sinopec said it has received 33.4 billion yuan from the government in subsidies in the first six months, but this was little help to its half year profit.
According to the report, the company's total assets was 821 billion yuan by June, up 14.2 from last year's 718 billion yuan.
Sinopec said it planned to produce 21.24 million tonnes of crude oil, 4.2 billion cubic meters of natural gas in the later half, and would process 89.75 million tonnes of crude during the same period.
(Xinhua News Agency August 25, 2008)