(EnergyAsia, April 30, Monday) — Singapore Petroleum Company, half owner of a 285,000 b/d refinery, said first quarter net profits surged 65.1% to S$112.1 million on higher refining margins and oil product prices. (US$1=S$1.5). But its revenue slipped 12.6% to S$1.92 billion for the three months to March 31 on lower sales volumes of about 20.5 million barrels.


The company, 49% owned by world leading offshore oil rig builder Keppel Corporation Ltd, said its earnings per share jumped 63.6% to 21.73 Singapore cents from 13.28 Singapore cents previously.


SPC said: “Refining margins for the quarter improved considerably due to the firm demand for products. The group was able to achieve an average refining margin of about US$7 per barrel for the quarter.”


In contrast, it saw refining margins of about US$3 a barrel in the second half of last year.


Crude prices remained firm due to the unresolved Iran nuclear issue. Product prices were stronger as well due to the strong demand and the relatively low global inventories,” it said.


SPC, the equal joint owner of the Singapore Refining Company (SRC) with US major Chevron, said it expects to continue to perform well for the rest of the year.


It added that SRC’s 90,000 b/d crude distillation unit will be shut down for 25 days from May to June as part of its scheduled maintenance programme. Despite the reduction of throughput by about 9% for the second quarter, SPC said the shutdown is not expected to negatively impact its marketing and trading activities.


SPC said it will have sufficient oil products inventory to supply its customers during the shutdown period.


The Singapore Exchange-listed company, which has invested in the upstream sector in recent years, expects to benefit from the start-up of oil production at its partly-owned Oyong field in Indonesia. Oyong is expected to provide SPC around 6,575 b/d of crude oil from June, adding to 2,540 b/d it is now getting from the Kakap field, also in Indonesia.