PetroChina profit rises on higher oil, gas prices

Associated Press

SHANGHAI (AP) — China's biggest oil and gas company PetroChina said its first quarter net profit rose 5.8 percent as rising crude oil and natural gas prices offset losses in its refining and chemicals operations.

The world's biggest publicly traded energy producer said Friday that net profit was 39.2 billion yuan ($6.2 billion) in January-March.

PetroChina's output of crude oil and natural gas rose 6.1 percent to 345.5 million barrels of oil equivalent, 31.2 million barrels of it from overseas production.

The majority state-owned company's refining business reported a 10.4 billion yuan ($1.7 billion) loss. Its chemicals operations lost 413 million yuan ($66 million). But rising prices helped compensate for those losses.

PetroChina pumped 2.4 million barrels a day last year, overtaking Exxon Mobil as the world's biggest publicly traded producer of oil.

The company has grown rapidly over the last decade by squeezing more from China's aging oil fields and outspending Western companies to acquire more petroleum reserves in places such as Canada, Iraq and Qatar — driven by the imperative to lock up as many resources as possible.