China Petroleum and Chemical Corporation (Sinopec), China's largest oil refiner, announced Sunday that its net profits slumped 65.78 percent in the first quarter from the same period of last year, and were only kept in the black by a 7.4 billion yuan government subsidy.
The 6.7 billion yuan net profit came after Sinopec got 7.4 billion yuan in subsidy from the Ministry of Finance to compensate its loss in the oil refining sector.
China has been keeping the domestic price for refined oil products at a lower level despite the surge of international crude oil price to nearly 120 U.S. dollars per barrel in the first quarter. It was the major reason for the profit slump, said Sinopec.
Sinopec's income from operations in the first quarter was 332 billion yuan, representing an increase of 20 percent over the same period of last year.
China's economy, growing relatively fast in the first quarter, boosted demand for petrochemical products, whose prices remained at a relatively high level, said the company in its first quarterly results for 2008.
Sinopec's crude oil output reached 10.33 million tonnes in the first three months, up 3.39 percent from the same period of last year. It produced 2.06 billion cubic feet of natural gas, up 3.06 percent year on year.
The realized crude oil price of Sinopec is 3943 yuan per tonne, up 52.67 percent from a year ago, with the realized price of natural gas up 14.7 percent to 916.79 yuan per 1,000 cubic meters.
Sinopec processed 41.89 million tonnes of crude in the first quarter, a year-on-year increase of 9.57 percent.
Sinopec saw output of gasoline rise by 11.88 percent, diesel up 15.38 percent and kerosene up 6.8 percent in the first three months.
In the chemical sector, Sinopec's output of ethylene and synthetic resins rose by 3.85 percent and 4.97 percent respectively from the same period of last year.
Sinopec's total domestic sales volume of refined oil products rose by 9.87 percent year on year to 30.18 million tonnes in the first three quarters of 2007.
Listed in Hong Kong, New York, London and Shanghai, Sinopec has 28,477 service stations in total.