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PetroChina Books Record Profit as Natural Gas and Fuel Demand Soar

A rebound in Chinese natural gas demand and rising fuel sales pushed the earnings of state oil and gas giant PetroChina to a record high in 2023, despite the drop in international oil and gas prices.

PetroChina reported on Monday a net income of $22.3 billion (161 billion Chinese yuan) for 2023, up by 8.3% on the year, thanks to recovering domestic consumption of refined petroleum products and a surge in natural gas demand.

Last year, Chinese natural gas and LNG demand rebounded from 2022, when the world’s top LNG importer was still under COVID-related lockdowns that were weighing on household and business consumption of all energy products.  

Total revenues for PetroChina, however, slumped by 7% in 2023 compared to 2022, amid lower international oil and gas prices, which affected the upstream earnings. But in terms of company net profit, the downstream business more than offset the impact of the weaker oil and gas prices.

In 2023, PetroChina’s refining and chemicals business took advantage of the domestic market recovery and boosted processing capacity, the state major said in a statement. The volumes of processed crude jumped by 15.3% year-over-year. Jet fuel output soared by 77.7%, gasoline production rose by 14.4%, and diesel output increased by 8.9%. Sales of all petroleum products except diesel jumped by double-digit numbers in 2023 compared to 2022.

PetroChina’s natural gas sales in China rose by 6.1% year-on-year, while the operating profit from the natural gas business tripled.

“Under the strict implementation of national price policies, the Group adhered to market-oriented and specialized marketing, actively explored high-end and high-profitability markets, fully utilized the function of value discovery through online trading, strived to increase sales volume and profit,” PetroChina said.

While PetroChina managed to offset weaker oil prices with higher product and natural gas sales, another Chinese state-held oil and gas giant, CNOOC, saw its net profit for 2023 slip by 12.6% from a record-high level in 2022, due to the decline in international oil prices.

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By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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