VILNIUS - The Mazeikiu Nafta oil complex reported net earnings of 230.2 million litas (66.7 million euros) for 2003, the first-ever net profit for the company since its establishment in 1998.
"The strong results are the outcome of favorable trends on the global market for oil products, which we managed to make use of successfully. Both the Mazeikiu refinery and the Butinge terminal showed the best performance," said Giedrius Karsokas, head of the company's communications department.
2003 profits, in fact, beat all expectations. Yukos, Russia's largest oil producer that owns the refinery, had projected losses of some 80 million litas, while Paul Nelson English, Mazeikiu Nafta CEO, forecast a profit of 120 million - 134 million litas.
For 2002 the company posted losses of 114.3 million litas.
Mazeikiu Nafta processed 7.16 million tons of crude oil and other raw material in 2003, a 9.3 percent rise year-on-year.
The Butinge terminal, which is controlled by the refinery, handled 10.72 million tons of crude oil exports, a 76 percent increase from 2002. The company said this was the best result since the start of operations at Butinge in mid-1999.
Earnings estimates for 2004 have been put at some 54 million litas.
Meanwhile, the state-run oil products terminal Klaipedos Nafta, announced last week that it handled a total of 819,000 tons of oil products in February 2004, a 28.6 percent increase from February 2003 and a rise of 6.4 percent from January 2004.
In all, oil-products flow via the terminal reached almost 1.6 million tons in the first two months of 2004, a surge of 38.6 percent from the respective period of 2003, said Andrius Betingis, manager for Klaipedos Nafta marketing and sales department.
The rise in throughput for March should equal that in February unless hindered by weather conditions, he said.
"At present, when the Volga River is coated with ice, the flow of heavy fuel oil rises. However, as soon as the ice comes off the flow of [heavy fuel oil] via Klaipeda will decline immediately," said Evaldas Bivilis, Klaipedos Nafta chairman.
In 2003 the terminal handled a total of 6.6 million tons of oil products, some 1.3 percent less than in 2002, and managed to post some 115.9 million litas in revenues on core business.
Mazeikiu Nafta output comprised 52.48 percent of the total flow of oil products handled at the Klaipeda terminal in 2003, with oil product deliveries directly from Russia accounting for another 20.5 percent of the total volume. Heavy fuel oil and other oil products from Belarus' two oil refineries made up some 26 percent of the total.
Klaipedos Nafta, which is 66.9 percent state-owned, intends to launch exports of crude oil in 2004, after having made the required modifications of its facilities. The state commission should approve new facilities and installations in March, Bivilis said.