(EnergyAsia, February 26, Thursday) — Downstream company Caltex Australia Ltd said plunging oil prices and production sank its 2008 net profit fell by 95% to A$34 million from A$646 million in 2007. (US$1=A$1.55).

The unplanned shutdown of its two refineries knocked 10% off its production of gasoline, diesel and jet fuel. World oil prices plunged from a record $147.27 a barrel in July to just $35-40 by December.
The company, Australia’s largest refiner, decided not to pay a final dividend for 2008, reflecting the loss of A$10 million in the second half of the year.

It said the interim dividend of A$0.36 per share paid in September 2008, based on earnings of A$196 million in the first half of 2008, represents a full year payout ratio of 52% in line with Caltex’s dividend policy. This compares with a total dividend payout of A$0.80 in 2007.

“Caltex’s financial performance in 2008 was impacted by the unprecedented decline in the Australian dollar and crude price, and the impact of lower refinery production,” it said.