NZ Refining refinery margins improve in May, June

BUSINESSDESK: New Zealand Refining says refinery fees improved to an average $US4.92 a barrel in May and June, up from $US4.01 in the previous two months.

That contributed to an average for the first six months of the year of $US4.36.

But the latest figures from the country’s only oil refinery are still well below the average margins achieved last year of $US6.11 a barrel.

Current margins are more comparable with 2009, when the annual average was $US4.16, although margins in that year gyrated between a high $US8.88 and $US1.18 a barrel.

Throughput at 6.6 million barrels over the two months was the same as in March and April but down on the first two months of the year, when 7.3 million were processed.

"Margin and throughput for the period was impacted by the latter stages of the planned shutdown of the Platformer and Crude Distiller Unit, which was completed to plan in early May," the company said in a statement to the NZX.

"All processing units are back on-stream and operating at near full capacity."

NZ Refining narrowly won a shareholder vote in April year to approve a $365 million upgrade, which the company expects will suppress dividends through much of the rest of this decade.

Shares last traded at $2.35 and have declined 17% this year.

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