PetroChina Q1 profit up 41% on higher oil prices, but refining growth slows

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PetroChina's logo is seen at its petrol station in Beijing, China, March 21, 2016. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

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April 29 (Reuters) - PetroChina (601857.SS) reported on Friday a 41% rise in first-quarter net income to 39.1 billion yuan ($5.9 billion), its best quarterly outturn since September 2020, helped by stronger oil and gas prices amid slower growth in refining.

Asia's biggest oil and gas producer said in a filing to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange that its oil and gas output rose 3.3% to 431 million barrels of oil equivalent, as stronger domestic production offset falling output abroad.

Under Beijing's call to boost domestic supply security, PetroChina lifted crude oil production at home by 3.7% to 193 million barrels, or 2.14 million barrels per day (bpd), and natural gas was up 5.4% at 33.5 billion cubic meters (bcm).

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Its refinery throughput, China's second-largest after Sinopec Corp, gained 1.5% to 302.5 million barrels, or 3.36 million bpd, slowing from the 7.8% growth recorded in the corresponding period of 2021.

Total domestic fuel sales gained 3% year on year, but sales of gasoline slipped 2.4% and aviation fuel was down 22%.

China's fuel demand has weakened significantly since March as global crude oil prices that touched 14-year highs pinched margins and COVID-19 control measures hurt oil consumption.

The firm raised domestic natural gas sales nearly 11% to 60.6 bcm during the period. Profit for the gas marketing business, however, fell 52% over the year-ago period partly because of the soaring import cost of liquefied natural gas.

Its Hong Kong-listed shares have gained 9.2% year to date, versus a 9.4% fall in the Hang Seng Index (.HSI).

($1 = 6.5835 Chinese yuan renminbi)

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Reporting by Chen Aizhu Editing by Mark Potter

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