By Gavin Evans
Sept. 19 (BusinessDesk) - The Marsden Point oil refinery processed a near-record 7.62 million barrels of oil during the past two months.
Operator New Zealand Refining said its throughput for July and August was the second highest on record. It attributed the strong performance to good collaboration with customers and reliable plant operation following a major maintenance shut in the preceding two months. The site processed a record 7.76 million barrels in the May-June period last year.
Marsden Point is the country's sole oil refiner and produces about 70 percent of the petrol, diesel and jet fuel used here. It is 43 percent-owned by Z Energy, BP and Mobil, and charges those customers processing fees based on refining margins in Singapore.
The firm, which trades as Refining NZ, said its gross refining margin for July and August averaged US$6.86 a barrel, slightly ahead of that in March and April, but down from US$8.87 for the same period of 2017. Processing fees climbed to $54.3 million, from $45.8 million in March-April and $63.6 million a year earlier.
The refinery, which processed a record 42.67 million barrels of crude in 2016, has no further shutdowns planned this year or next. It is expecting to process about 41 million barrels this year and is aiming for a record 44 million barrels in 2019.
The shares last traded at $2.57 and have dipped 3 percent so far this year.