Ampol’s oil refinery sinks to loss as virus drains fuel demand

Ampol service station loss

Australian fuel supplier Ampol has detailed the severity of COVID-19’s impact on its operations as travel restrictions wipe out demand and send its oil refinery sinking to a loss of nearly $60 million.

Ampol, formerly Caltex Australia, told shareholders on Tuesday it was suffering “unprecedented challenges” amid the pandemic’s devastating effect on petrol and jet fuel consumption so far this year as flights remain grounded and cars parked in driveways.

The company’s benchmark underlying profit – stripping out this year’s dramatic volatility in oil prices – fell 11 per cent to $120 million, below the expectations of some analysts. On a statutory basis, the group recorded a $626 million loss.

“Ampol has performed well in extremely challenging market conditions with sustained weakness in refining margins, retail fuel volumes and severe demand destruction caused by a range of factors including restrictions imposed by governments in response to COVID-19,” chief executive Matthew Halliday said.

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