AUSTRALIA's four big mature petrol companies lost about $506 million mostly due to the loss in refining and marketing operations. It is about one cent for every liter of petrol sold. Officials define high taxes ($13.7 billion in 2001) and offhand sale policy (companies bought crude oil at the highest price and then sold refined product at lower prices) as the main reasons of their today’s troubles. Oil prices changed from $US31.30 ($57.90) a barrel to $US19.60 a barrel for the last year.
Of course there’s no only one side guilty, the government played its dramatic role as it demanded costly changes to the nation's eight oil refineries to reduce environmental impacts of petrol emissions. There’s a real possibility of closing two oil refineries. The combined refinery and marketing losses last year compare with an aggregate profit for Caltex, Shell, BP and Mobil in 2000 of $138 million. The so-called stock revaluation reduced the companies' after-tax profits by a whopping $690 million. During 2001, the average price of crude oil decreased from $US31.30 ($57.90) a barrel to $US19.60 a barrel. The survey said the effect of this was a loss in the refining sector of $472 million.
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