UpdateBP's Q1 petchems profits drop to $112m in margin squeeze

01 May 2012 11:39  [Source: ICIS news]

(adds petrochemicals volumes and Q4 2011 profits data)

BPSINGAPORE (ICIS)--BP’s petrochemicals operations posted an underlying replacement cost profit before interest and tax of $112m (€85m) in the first quarter of 2012, representing a 78% slump from the same period last year, the UK energy giant said on Tuesday.

“This reflects a challenging margin environment compared with the particularly strong aromatics margins a year ago, although we have seen volumes improve from the low levels in the fourth quarter as a result of improved demand and higher availability,” BP said in a statement.

Petrochemicals profits in the fourth quarter were $96m.

BP’s first-quarter petrochemicals production was down 3.3% year on year at 3.91m tonnes but up 9.1% on the 2011 fourth quarter.

Volumes were down 5.0% in the US at 1.08m tonnes year on year in the first quarter and up 2.6% at 1.01m tonnes in Europe. Petrochemicals production outside these two regions was 5.3% lower at 1.82m tonnes.

BP said it expected petrochemicals margins to remain subdued given the difficult economic conditions.

The company’s downstream operations recorded a 59% decline in replacement cost profit before interest and tax for the first quarter to $856m, it said.

BP’s overall underlying replacement cost profit for January-March this year stood at $4.80bn, down 12.8% year on year.

($1 = €0.76)

Nigel Davis contributed to this article

By: Pearl Bantillo
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