Sinopec, Asia's biggest refiner by volume, said Wednesday its profit in the first quarter was up nearly 40 per cent from the same period a year ago as demand inside China increased. The company, also known as China Petroleum & Chemical Corp., said its profit in the three months that ended March 31 was 15.7 billion yuan (US$2.3 billion), up 39.9 per cent from 11.2 billion yuan a year earlier. It said earnings per share were 0.18 yuan (three cents).
The Chinese company recently struck a deal to acquire a nine per cent stake in the Syncrude oilsands project in Northern Alberta for about $4.6 billion. It acquired the stake from U.S. energy company ConocoPhillips (NYSE:COP), which put its Syncrude investment up for sale last year. Sinopec has benefited from the government's decision to ease controls that battered the company in previous years by preventing it from passing on record crude costs to consumers. Beijing raised state-set prices of gasoline and diesel several times last year to reflect higher global oil costs.
Sinopec's profit more than doubled in 2009 to 61.3 billion yuan amid China's stimulus-fueled recovery from the global financial crisis. The company said Wednesday it produced 10.3 million tons of crude oil in the first quarter.