UPDATE 1-S-Oil expects refining margins to recover in Q3 as virus curbs ease

(Adds quarterly performance, maintenance details)

SEOUL, July 24 (Reuters) - South Korea’s S-Oil Corp said on Friday it expected refining margins to continuously recover in the third quarter, supported by the easing of coronavirus-related restrictions.

“Demand is recovering thanks to the easing of lockdowns and stimulus measures in major countries,” the country’s third-largest refiner, whose main shareholder is Saudi Aramco , said in an earnings statement.

S-Oil reported an operating loss of 164.3 billion won ($136.84 million) for the second quarter. Inventory-related loss narrowed to 169 billion won from 721 billion won in the previous quarter.

The refiner plans to shut its No.1 crude distillation unit (CDU) in the third quarter and No.2 residue fluid catalytic cracker (RFCC) in June and July for maintenance.

The company also said it operated its 669,000 barrels-per-day CDUs in the southeastern city of Ulsan at 99.8% of capacity on average in the April-June period, up from 93.4% in the first quarter.

Shares of S-Oil were down 0.8% as of 1250 GMT, while the wider market was trading 0.1% lower.

$1 = 1,200.6400 won Reporting by Heekyong Yang and Joyce Lee; Editing by Jacqueline Wong and Subhranshu Sahu