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World’s Largest Oil Refinery Increases Profit Despite Tough Market

Refining industry

India-based Reliance Industries boasted a 10 percent increase in profits on Monday for the fourth quarter of 2016, according to the company’s latest corporate report.

The conglomerate’s refining operations saw profitability jump over the past three months to $10.80 per barrel, compared to $10.10 in the third quarter of last year.

Reliance—which owns what is possibly the world’s largest refinery—has delivered "record performances in challenging market conditions," Ambani said in a statement accompanying the data release.

The oil price crisis has forced several oil and gas explorers and refiners to close up shop over the past two years. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries’ (OPEC) recent deal to cap output is expected to help barrel prices recover in the coming years.

Reliance’s overall profits rose to US$1.18 billion, with revenues for the company owned by the South Asian country’s richest man – Mukesh Ambani – up nine percent. Bloomberg’s survey of 11 industry experts only estimated net profits to reach US$1.15 billion.

"I believe even in the next financial year, we will see a substantial jump in earnings before interest, tax and depreciation," Srikanth Venkatachari, the company’s Joint Chief Financial Officer, told a news conference on Monday, deriving his prediction from the expected success of a $15 billion capital spending program that will add two new massive refineries to the company’s portfolio.

Related: Indonesia Just Rocked The Mining World With This Unexpected Move

Having begun as a textiles manufacturer, Reliance Industries created dedicated subsidiaries that have had a spectacular run since they burst onto the world scene in 2008. The oil wing owns the world’s biggest refinery at Jamnagar in Gujarat, with a capacity of 1.24 million barrels per day.

However, Ambani’s rise may not have been to everyone’s liking: one of the first actions of Narendra Modi’s new government was to hit Reliance with a $579 million fine, only the latest in a series of penalties stemming from the corporation’s failure to meet legally binding gas production commitments from the gas fields it operates in India.

By Zainab Calcuttawala for Oilprice.com

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