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PetroChina profit up 19 percent as margins rise

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KELVIN CHAN | October 29, 2013 06:48 AM EST | AP


HONG KONG (AP) — State-owned PetroChina said Tuesday third quarter profit rose by a fifth as it benefited from fuel price reforms that lifted refining margins at Asia's biggest oil producer.

The Beijing-based company, which operates more than 20,000 gasoline service stations in China, said reforms earlier this year allowed politically sensitive fuel prices to more closely track rises in international prices. That contributed to better results at its refining and natural gas businesses.

PetroChina Co. said profit in the July-September period rose 19 percent to 29.8 billion yuan ($4.9 billion) over the year before.

Revenue rose 5.5 percent to 581.7 billion yuan ($95.5 billion).

Losses at the refining and chemicals division shrank to 20 billion yuan in the January- September period, nearly half the loss in the same period last year, which was "a result of taking advantage of the newly promulgated pricing mechanism for refined products," Chairman Zhou Jiping said in a statement.

China's price controls are aimed at keeping politically sensitive inflation in check.

Income at PetroChina's natural gas business jumped 26-fold to 23.4 billion yuan for similar reasons. Authorities allowed suppliers to raise prices in July by 15 percent.

Crude oil output rose 2.2 percent to 698 million barrels in the first nine months of 2013 but the exploration and production division's profit fell 10 percent to 147 billion yuan on higher costs and a 3.6 percent drop in the average selling price for crude.