PetroChina posts best quarterly profit in seven years
Signage for PetroChina is illuminated at a gas station in Hong Kong, China, March 19, 2019. /CFP

Signage for PetroChina is illuminated at a gas station in Hong Kong, China, March 19, 2019. /CFP

PetroChina on Thursday reported its biggest quarterly profit in seven years, citing rising oil and gas prices and a recovery in Chinese fuel demand from last year's deep coronavirus slump.

Asia's biggest oil and gas producer swung to a 27.7 billion yuan ($4.28 billion) first-quarter net profit, having posted a loss in the same period last year, and announced that it is setting up a new investment vehicle with a focus on strategic assets and low-carbon projects.

The new firm, CNPC Kunlun Capital Company, is 51 percent owned by PetroChina parent China National Petroleum Corp, 29 percent by PetroChina and 20 percent by CNPC Capital, with registered capital of 10 billion yuan.

PetroChina's first-quarter revenue was up 8.4 percent at 551.9 billion yuan, it said in a filing to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.

Oil and gas output grew 0.8 percent to 417.1 million barrels of oil equivalent, with crude oil production down 4.9 percent while gas output was up 8 percent at 1.17 trillion cubic feet.

Its domestic gas sales rallied nearly 15 percent and refined fuel surged 20.9 percent as Chinese fuel demand rebounded in tandem with robust economic growth.

PetroChina's domestic rival Sinopec earlier reported a net profit of 17.9 billion yuan in the three months ended March, reversing a loss to profit in the same period last year and exceeded the performance from the same period in 2019.

OPEC projected in an April report that China's oil demand will reach 14.30 million barrels per day in 2021, an increase of 8.43 percent from 2020. The spot price of Brent crude for the first quarter averaged $60.9 per barrel, rising 21.2 percent year on year.

(With input from Reuters)

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