02 May 2012 20:44 [Source: ICIS news]
MEDELLIN, Colombia (ICIS)--Ecopetrol, Colombia's largest oil company, said on Wednesday that throughput capacity at the country’s largest refinery declined by 13% year over year in the first quarter of 2012.
Throughput capacity at the Barrancabermeja refinery declined to 200,000 bbl/day during the first quarter of 2012, down from 230,000 bbl/day during the same time last year, the company said during an earnings call.
Throughput capacity at the Cartagena refinery also declined, posting a 5% drop during the first quarter year over year, the company said.
The company said throughput decline was because of planned maintenance at both refineries during the quarter.
The refining margin at Barrancabermeja dropped by 56% to $5.90/bbl in the quarter down from $13.30/bbl during the same period last year, the company said. Refining margins at Cartagena declined by 45% year over year to $5.40/bbl.
The fall in margins was attributed to higher cost of crude and lower production output during maintenance, the company said.
The modernisation project of the Cartagena refinery, which will increase capacity to 165,000 bbl/day, was 61% complete during the quarter and the upgrade at Barrancabermeja was 10% complete, according to Ecopetrol.
Bogota-based Ecopetrol posted a 37.4% year-over-year growth in its first-quarter net profit to a record Colombian pesos (Ps) 4,274bn ($2.43bn, €1.85bn) because of a 24.9% increase in sales, the energy and polyethylene (PE) producer said.
Looking to the second quarter, Ecopetrol expects to advance in the Cartagena and Barrancabermeja upgrade projects. The company also has planned maintenance scheduled on units at Barrancabermeja.
The Barrancabermeja complex includes four catalytic cracking units, two polyethylene and alkylation plants, sulphuric acid, paraffin and aromatic plants, according to Ecopetrol.
The complex produces 75% of the domestic supply of gasoline, fuel oil and diesel, as well as 70% of petrochemical products circulating in the domestic market, according to the company.
($1 = Ps1,760)
($1 = €0.76)
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