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NZ Refining margin slides with plant outage

Wednesday 21st July 2010

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The New Zealand Refining Company reported gross refining margins falling to US$3.83 per barrel in May and June, following a recovery from last year's slump earlier in the year, on throughput of 6.4 million barrels.

Shares in the Marsden Point oil refinery operator fell 1.5% to $3.12, marking a year to date slide of 12.3%, following the pro forma two-monthly announcement to the NZX.

"The company's ability to upgrade lower cost feedstock into high value products was limited during the shutdown period as a result of the hydro-cracker being off-line and this has impacted the average gross refinery margin generated for the two month period," the company said in a statement.

Refining margins fell as low as US$1.18 last year, but recovered to $US6.85 in the first two months of the year, and stayed healthy at an average US$5.57 in March and April.

The refining margin is historically volatile, and was briefly negative in 1999.

The refinery commissioned extended refining facilities earlier this month and is seeking opportunities for further expansion.

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