Aug 4 (Reuters) – U.S. oil refiner Marathon Petroleum Corp (MPC.N) said it expects to process slightly less crude in the third quarter compared with the second, as the spread of the highly contagious Delta variant of the coronavirus has been threatening fuel demand recovery.
While refiners had ramped up crude processing in the second quarter as U.S. gasoline and diesel fuel demand has nearly recovered to pre-pandemic levels, refined products are facing headwinds from rising fears the Delta variant could impact travel-related demand.
Marathon Petroleum forecast current-quarter throughput, the amount of crude processed, of 2.8 million barrels per day, compared with 2.9 million bpd in the second quarter ended June 30. It had risen by 300,000 bpd in the second quarter from the first.
Marathon’s rival Phillips 66 (PSX.N), which also posted its first adjusted quarterly profit in more than a year, said on Tuesday market conditions in the third quarter would determine refinery utilization levels. read more
Refining and marketing margins rose 23% to $12.45 per barrel in the second quarter, while crude capacity utilization rose to 94% from 83% in the first quarter.
Adjusted net earnings attributable to Marathon Petroleum stood at $437 million, or 67 cents per share, in the second quarter, compared with a loss of $132 million, or 20 cents per share, in the first.
Analysts had on average expected a profit of 39 cents per share, after slashing estimates over the last two months.