S-Oil expects Q4 refining margins to continue uptrend as COVID-19 restrictions ease

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SEOUL, Oct 28 (Reuters) - South Korea's S-Oil Corp (010950.KS) said on Thursday that Asia's refining margins are expected to continue their uptrend in the fourth quarter as demand grows ahead of winter season and COVID-19 restrictions ease.

A recent steep hike in natural gas prices will boost demand for refined oil as an alternative energy source, S-Oil added.

S-Oil is the country's third-largest refiner, whose main shareholder is Saudi Aramco (2222.SE).

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S-Oil reported on Thursday an operating profit of 549 billion won ($468.22 million) for the third quarter.

Operating income in the third quarter at its oil refining business was 185.5 billion won from revenue of 5.2 trillion won.

That resulted in a profit margin of 3.6%, up from 3.1% in the second quarter, and higher than minus 1.9% in the same period a year ago.

The company said it operated the crude distillation units at its 669,000 barrels-per-day refinery in the southeastern city of Ulsan at 99.2% of capacity on average in the July-September period, up from 98.8% in the second quarter.

Shares of S-Oil were down 3.3% as of morning trade, while the wider market (.KS11) was trading 0.1% higher.

($1 = 1,172.5200 won)

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Reporting by Jihoon Lee; Editing by Sam Holmes

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