Ed Crooks PetroChina’s first quarter results: profits down 35 per cent

A steep fall in profits for the first quarter has been reported by PetroChina, the world’s second-biggest oil company by market capitalisation.

Like all upstream oil and gas producers, PetroChina has been hit by the plummeting price of crude. Its results follow Eni and ConcoPhillips, which last week similarly reported sharp declines in first quarter profits, although both managed to exceed analysts’ expectations.

PetroChina’s Q1 net profit of just under Rmb19bn (about $2.8bn) seems to have been roughly in line with forecasts. (Bloomberg  thinks it was slightly lower than the consensus, Reuters thinks it was significantly higher.)

Still, PetroChina’s drop in net income of 35 per cent is still much better than the declines of about 60 per cent expected to be reported this week by the leading western supermajors: BP, Shell, Exxon and Chevron.

Reuters also picks up an interesting line from an analyst.

But signs of a recovery in fuel demand from China, the world’s
second-largest oil consumer after the United States, could be a bright spot for
PetroChina’s upcoming quarters, said Gordon Kwan, head of energy research at
Mirae Asset Financial.
Fuel inventories held by China’s top refiners fell nearly 15 percent in
March, the first sharp decline in over two years, as rising demand lifted sales
by more than a fifth from February.