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U.S. refiner Phillips 66 reports improved fourth-quarter earnings
HOUSTON, Jan 30, 2013 (Xinhua via COMTEX) -- Copyright 2013 XINHUA NEWS AGENCY

U.S. refiner Phillips 66 on Wednesday reported fourth-quarter earnings that surpassed analysts ' forecasts, thanks to cheaper crude supply from the United States and Canada.

The Texas-based company's adjusted earnings in the fourth quarter of 2012 rose more than three times to 1.37 billion U.S. dollars, taking advantage of larger profit margins for its refining and chemical businesses.

Adjusted earnings in its refining business soared to 916 million U.S. dollars from 27 million a year earlier, the company said.

"Strong realized refining and chemicals margins improved our earnings during the quarter," Phillips 66 Chairman and CEO Greg Garland said in a statement.

"The company's solid financial performance in 2012 was underpinned by safe, reliable and efficient operations," Garland added.

The U.S. refining businesses have boomed over the year. Leading U.S. refiner Valero on Tuesday reported a surprisingly strong profit for the fourth quarter of 2012 as it swapped out foreign crude for cheaper domestic oil.

Valero, also based in Texas, said that its profit in the October-December quarter jumped to 1.01 billion U.S. dollars from 45 million dollars a year earlier.

The earnings result was the company's highest since 2005, beating analysts' forecasts.

Refiners fared better than any other energy sector in 2012 as U. S. crude production rose to the highest level since 1993, exceeding demand and keeping U.S. oil prices much lower than imports.

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