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24

Petrochina's 2006 Earnings Hit a Record, But Below Expectations

PetroChina Co. Ltd., the world's fourth-largest oil producer, posted record earnings of 142.2 billion yuan

PetroChina Co. Ltd., the world's fourth-largest oil producer, posted record earnings of 142.2 billion yuan ($18.2 billion) for 2006.

However, the results were below analyst expectations and investors were dismayed by a 13% slide in second-half earnings as costs rose and refining losses deepened.

Its shares slumped 1.26% to HK$8.62 ($1.10) Tuesday in Hong Kong at midday.

Revenue for the 12 months that ended December 2006 soared 24.8% to 689 billion yuan ($88.3 billion) from 552.2 billion yuan ($70.8 billion) in 2005. This was primarily due to increases in the prices and sales volume of crude oil, natural gas and certain refined products.

However, net profit rose 6.6% from 2005, the slowest pace since 2002, and the full-year profit of 142.2 billion yuan was lower than the consensus analyst forecast of 144 billion yuan ($18.62 billion) to 152 billion yuan ($19.65 billion).

Earnings were hurt by a 36.4% rise in operating expenses to 491 billion yuan ($62.9 billion).