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PetroChina income tumbles on crude fall

PETROCHINA Co's net income plunged 35.3 percent in the first quarter of this year as crude oil prices tumbled from a year earlier and demand weakened.

Net profit fell to 18.96 billion yuan (US$2.78 billion), or 0.1 yuan a share, in the first three months, from 29.31 billion yuan, or 0.16 yuan a share in the same period of 2008 under international accounting standards. That's in line with the forecast of 18.5 billion yuan given by Mirae Asset analyst Gordon Kwan.

Sales fell 30 percent to 181.58 billion yuan.

The company said the average selling price of its crude oil dropped 57.8 percent to US$37.10 a barrel in the first quarter, which also triggered a 5.7 percent decline in crude oil output.

"The international financial crisis has continued to spread and deepen in the first quarter, with international oil prices remaining at low level and demand for petroleum and chemical products in the domestic market declining," PetroChina said in a filing to the Shanghai Stock Exchange late yesterday.

But the Beijing-based company said the first-quarter earnings were better than it had expected after the company boosted cost control and reined in capital expenditure.


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