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Pumping up profits and prices

BP Amoco's parent company has announced a record profit thanks to what it describes as 'better refining margins', just a day after BP in New Zealand claimed it is increasing petrol prices because of increased costs of refining.

On Monday Alliance leader and Deputy Prime Minister Jim Anderton accused petrol companies of becoming more innovative in their excuses for petrol price rises, after BP pushed its price for unleaded 91 octane petrol up by three cents a litre.

He says BP's justification for the increase has been exploded immediately by its own parent.

"BP claimed on Monday that it was facing higher refining costs.

"Over night, in a statement headed 'BP reports record performance', BP Amoco announced a second quarter 2000 profit of $3610 million, up 164% compared to last year. It commented: 'Refining and Marketing achieved a record result with robust refining margins.'

"In other words, BP is telling its investors that it is making more from refining than it has ever made, at the very same time that it is telling kiwi motorists that it is increasing pump prices because of increased refining costs."

The BP news release can be seen at http://www.bp.com/pressoffice/defaultstory.asp?PressReleaseID=695

Meanwhile Jim Anderton says Shell's claim today that it was increasing pump prices to match BP's prices because of a 'weak exchange rate' couldn't withstand scrutiny.

"Adjusted for the value of the New Zealand dollar, crude oil is about the same price now that it was in February when 91 pump prices were less than a dollar a litre.

"I predicted other companies would follow when BP announced on Monday that it was increasing prices. They never fail to disappoint," Mr Anderton said.

Ends

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