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Thai refiner sees no output cut in 2009

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Thai refiner sees no output cut in 2009
Thailand’s top refiner Thai Oil Plc expects to produce 275,000 barrels per day (bpd) of oil products in 2009, the same as 2008, despite a global economic slowdown, Reuter’s quoted the firm’sexecutive Somkiat Hatthakoson as saying Thursday.

"Next year's oil production is going to be at the same level we are doing now," Somkiat told reporters.

Last year the company produced around 220,000 bpd of products.

The impact of the economic downturn had been minimal as the company had relatively low production costs compared to rivals, Somkiat said, without elaborating.

The company’s stock has fallen 55 percent from its July peak of around $147 a barrel, dragged down by fears of a deep and lasting global recession.

Thai Oil, nearly half-owned by energy gaint PTT Plc, expects oil prices to fall further next year and it might have to assess its capacity again in the future, Somkiat said.

The company operates a 275,000 bpd refinery and runs paraxylene petrochemical and lubricant businesses via subsidiaries.

Thai Oil posted an impressive 59 percent rise in second-quarter net profit to a record high as gross refining margins surged in line with crude prices.

But the refiner was expected to show its first quarterly loss since listing in 2004 when it announced third-quarter earnings on Nov. 10, analysts said.

They forecast a 5.6 billion baht loss due to inventory losses after a sharp drop in crude prices.

The company also planned to export more in 2009, Somkiat said, adding such business accounted for 20 percent of its revenue.

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