China's Sinopec says 1H profit up 24 per cent as fuel price reforms help end refining losses

HONG KONG - Chinese state-owned oil company Sinopec's first-half profit rose by about a quarter as reforms to fuel price controls ended losses at its refining business.

Asia's biggest refiner by volume also said Sunday that losses narrowed at its chemicals business.

Beijing-based Sinopec said January-June profit climbed 24 per cent to 30.3 billion yuan ($5 billion) or 0.25 yuan (4 cents) a share.

Revenue rose 5 per cent to 1.4 trillion yuan.

Chinese oil companies have benefited after reforms announced by Beijing in late March allowed domestic fuel prices to more closely follow international prices.

The refining division turned an operating profit of 213 million yuan, after losing 18.5 billion yuan a year earlier.

Sinopec pumped 165.4 million barrels of crude in the first half, up 1.4 per cent from last year. Almost all of it came from domestic sources. Natural gas production rose 12 per cent to 324.1 billion cubic feet.