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Phillips 66 follows rival Valero with a profit beat

(Reuters) – U.S. refiner Phillips 66 on Tuesday beat analysts’ quarterly profit estimates, becoming the second major refiner to post bullish numbers at a time when investors and analysts had largely expected poor performance due to higher Canadian crude prices.

Alberta, Canada’s largest crude-producing province, mandated temporary oil production cuts effective January to reduce excess crude in storage and boost prices of Canadian crude as rising production in oil sands surpassed pipeline capacity, creating bottlenecks.

Rival Valero Energy posted profit and revenue that beat estimates last week as it sought to offset the impact of higher Canadian crude prices.

On an adjusted basis, Phillips 66’s profit fell to $187 million, or 40 cents per share, in the first quarter ended March 31, from $512 million or $1.04 per share a year earlier.

Analysts, on average, were expecting the company to post a profit of 34 cents per share, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

The Houston, Texas-based refiner’s realized refining margins in the first quarter fell 56 percent to $7.23 per barrel, from the fourth quarter, primarily due to higher Canadian crude prices, and lower clean product realizations.

The company’s utilization rate, the percentage of the total equipment or refinery involved in processing crude, was 84 percent in the quarter against 89 percent in the year-ago quarter.

Reporting by Nishara Karuvalli Pathikkal; Editing by Shailesh Kuber

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