China Petroleum & Chemical Corp (Sinopec) recorded a 19.15 billion yuan ($2.71 billion) net loss in first-quarter earnings, as the coronavirus pandemic walloped fuel consumption and led to collapsing oil prices.
It was the first quarterly loss posted by the listed branch of Asia's largest refiner since at least the fourth quarter in 2015, according to Refinitiv Eikon's records.
The loss compared with net profits in the first quarter of 2019 of 14.76 billion yuan and 14.31 billion yuan in the fourth quarter last year.
Sinopec said its refinery throughput fell 13% year-on-year to 53.74 million tonnes, or about 4.31 million barrels per day (bpd), as the coronavirus curtailed demand for refined oil products.
Its oil refining sector suffered a 25.8 billion yuan loss in the first three months of 2020.
The company said last month it expected lower refining runs for the full year of 2020, but for refined oil consumption to return to normal in the third and fourth quarters.
Utilization rates at its refineries have been resuming after touching as low as 66% in February.
Crude oil production in the first quarter at Sinopec dipped 0.2% from a year earlier to 70.65 million barrels, while natural gas output fell 2.4% to 249.68 billion cubic feet.
Its realized crude oil prices were $49.15 per barrel, down 14.8% on year, following the drop in global oil prices triggered by a price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia.
Realized natural gas prices were $6.43 per thousand cubic feet, down 9.2% from a year ago, it reported. ($1 = 7.0722 Chinese yuan renminbi)
(Reporting by Muyu Xu in Beijing and Chen Aizhu in Singapore; Editing by Alex Richardson)
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