(EnergyAsia, February 27 2013, Wednesday) — Caltex Australia has returned to profitability reporting a A$57 million net gain last year to reverse the huge A$714 million loss for 2011. (US$1=A$0.97).

The country’s largest downstream company said its performance was helped by increased production at its two refineries and higher sales of gasoline, diesel and jet fuel. Caltex’s dismal performance in 2011 included a A$1.12 billion write-down on its ageing Kurnell refinery in Sydney which it has decided to shut down and convert into a storage terminal next year.

Its refining and supply operations delivered a significant turnaround with an A$88 million profit compared with a A$208 million loss in 2011.

“Improved refinery reliability, particularly through the second half, resulted in the highest production volumes since 2007. This allowed Caltex to take advantage of more favourable externalities, including a stronger refiner margin of US$11.83 per barrel compared with US$7.98 in 2011,” it said.

“The higher 2012 result is due to continued growth within Marketing & Distribution, a lower depreciation charge as a result of the 2011 refinery impairment, and improved refinery reliability and higher production volumes which allowed Caltex to capitalise on more favourable externalities, including strong second half refining margins,” said managing director and CEO Julian Segal.

Caltex, which is 50% owned by US major Chevron, will pay shareholders a A$0.23 dividend per share compared with A$0.28 the previous year.