China’s Sinopec posts $6 billion H1 profit on rebounding oil prices, better demand

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(Corrects dateline to Aug 29, no change to story text)

BEIJING (Reuters) -China Petroleum & Chemical Corp on Sunday reported a 39.15 billion yuan ($6.05 billion) net profit for the first six months of 2021 on the back of renewed fuel demand and a rebound in oil prices amid a recovery from the impact of COVID-19.

Asia’s biggest oil refiner, known as Sinopec, posted a 23 billion yuan loss during January-June last year as the coronavirus pandemic walloped fuel demand and knocked oil prices. The 2021 interim profit compares with a 31.338 billion yuan profit in the same period in 2019.

Revenue in the first six months rose 22.1% from last year’s low base to 1.26 trillion yuan, following a recovery in global oil prices and robust demand for fuel and petrochemical products.

During the period, Sinopec processed a total of 126.11 million tonnes crude oil, up 13.7% on a year earlier, with gasoline output increasing by 20.8% as more people drove as China recovered from the COVID-19 shock.

Ethylene production also jumped 11.9% in the first six months from a year ago to 6.46 million tonnes, as the company upgrades its refineries to churn out more high-end petrochemical raw materials and slashes low value-added fuel products.

Sinopec produced 138.15 million barrels of crude oil, down 1.5% year-on-year, while its natural gas output rose 13.7% to 582.6 billion cubic feet.

Capital expenditure for the half-year came in at 57.94 billion yuan, about 35% of its full-year investment plan of 167.2 billion yuan.

($1 = 6.4711 Chinese yuan renminbi)

(Reporting by Muyu Xu,Stella Qiu and Ryan Woo; editing by Richard Pullin)