SEOUL : South Korea's S-Oil Corp said on Thursday that Asia's refining margins are expected to continue their uptrend in the fourth quarter as demand grows ahead of winter season and COVID-19 restrictions ease.
A recent steep hike in natural gas prices will boost demand for refined oil as an alternative energy source, S-Oil added.
S-Oil is the country's third-largest refiner, whose main shareholder is Saudi Aramco.
S-Oil reported on Thursday an operating profit of 549 billion won (US$468.22 million) for the third quarter.
Operating income in the third quarter at its oil refining business was 185.5 billion won from revenue of 5.2 trillion won.
That resulted in a profit margin of 3.6per cent, up from 3.1per cent in the second quarter, and higher than minus 1.9per cent in the same period a year ago.
The company said it operated the crude distillation units at its 669,000 barrels-per-day refinery in the southeastern city of Ulsan at 99.2per cent of capacity on average in the July-September period, up from 98.8per cent in the second quarter.
Shares of S-Oil were down 3.3per cent as of morning trade, while the wider market was trading 0.1per cent higher.
(US$1 = 1,172.5200 won)
(Reporting by Jihoon Lee; Editing by Sam Holmes)