Aussie refiners grappling with bleak market

Australia`s oil refiners are being forced into drastic action by the continuing slump in refining margins in Asian markets.Within a week of each other, Caltex Australia Ltd. and then Mobil Oil Australia Ltd. said that there would have to be cuts in production levels at their facilities.Caltex Managing Director Ian Blackburne has warned that the company`s first-half profit will be below the $40.3 million (Australian) it reported in first half 1998 because the fall in refining margins means it was unable to cover costs. He said benchmark Singapore refining margins averaged $1.16 (U.S.)/ bbl in May across all petroleum products. Some of those products were being produced at a loss at that ti...

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