(EnergyAsia, August 29 2012, Wednesday) — New Zealand’s only oil refining company said it suffered a first-half net loss of nearly NZ$1.49 million on shrinking refining margins and a weaker US dollar, compared with a NZ$31.2 million profit for the same period last year.

Revenue fell 28% to NZ$113 million for the six months ending June 30 while operating expenses rose 1.7% to NZ$113.9 million.

The company said refining margins have remained weak throughout the first six months of the year, averaging US$4.36 per barrel compared with US$6.56 for the same period last year. At the same time, the New Zealand dollar rose to around US$0.78 from US$0.80 last year.

“Continuing poor growth in global economies, particularly slowing growth in China and India, has contributed to a falling off in demand for oil products. The impact on the profitability of our competitor refineries is apparent with closures continuing in Europe, the US and Australia,” it said.

CEO Ken Rivers, who will step down next January, said he expects the current uncertain conditions to continue. He will be succeeded by a senior Shell executive Sjoerd Post.

The company’s main shareholders include BP New Zealand Holdings Limited (23.66%), Mobil Oil NZ Limited (19.2%), Z Energy Holdings Limited (17.14%),

Chevron New Zealand (12.69%) and Garlow Management (8.12%). About 3,800 other shareholders own the remaining 19.19% stake.