Oil prices provide boost to Repsol as margins rise

SPANISH oil firm Repsol met analysts estimates yesterday with a doubling of adjusted fourth-quarter net profit thanks to higher oil prices and refining margins.

Repsol’s refining margins in its core Spanish markets rose to $2.9 per barrel from zero in the fourth quarter of 2009, while its oil fetched 16 per cent more year-on-year.

Net debt at the company fell by over a third in the fourth-quarter to €7.22bn (£6.2bn), helped by the sale of assets in Brazil, mainly a stake in its upstream operations to China’s Sinopec in October.

Repsol’s adjusted earnings before interest and taxes increased 41 per cent to €1.06bn. Repsol’s fourth-quarter earnings were also driven by capacity hikes in liquid natural gas from a new plant in Peru, together with a modest recovery in gas prices.

The company also said yesterday it may delay the exploration of its Libyan drilling projects.