Ampol another beneficiary of Ukraine unrest

The unwitting Australian resource company beneficiaries of Russia’s aggrandisement in Ukraine continue to emerge as June 30 updates and production and sales data are released.

Last week Viva Energy (ASX:VEA), the holder of the Shell brand in Australia, revealed the benefit from the conflict to its financial position with a forecast for a record gross profit forecast for the half year to June 30.

The bottom line for Viva: a 140% boost to earnings to around $614 million for the six months to June.

Viva made the point that the positive boost came from its commercial contracts – diesel and jet fuel supply arrangements. Petrol sales to consumers were ’negatively’ impacted by higher prices.

On Monday, Whitehaven (ASX:WHC) revealed that the invasion of Ukraine had sent thermal coal prices soaring, and its earnings to at least $3 billion for the year to June, with around $1 billion in cash in its bank accounts at June 30.

And on Tuesday, Viva’s refining and distribution rival Ampol (nee, Caltex Australia) (ASX:ALD) revealed a huge surge in its gross margin for the June quarter and the six months to June 30.

Ampol said that margins from processing crude into petrol and diesel at its Lytton refinery in Brisbane trebled in the June quarter amid the turmoil in global energy markets.

Ampol didn’t give a figure like Viva’s $614 million for its half year EBITDA or any commentary on how demand was impacted by the price rises but the figure should be huge after the June quarter saw a gross margin of $US32.96 a barrel, compared with the $US10.59 a barrel for the three months to March.

More importantly the Lytton refinery margin in the June quarter was more than five times that in the same quarter of 2021 of $US6.29 a barrel which points to record earnings for the half year.

Ampol said the second-quarter margin reached an “unprecedented level” and it was able to take advantage through increased refinery production.

The Lytton refinery, which swung to profit in 2021, produced 1.56 billion litres of oil in the second quarter, up from 1.41 billion litres in the previous quarter.

For the six months to June 30 this year, the margin was $US22.35 a barrel, more than three times the $US5.90 a barrel in the first half of 2021. Lytton produced 2.977 million litres of product in the first half of 2022, down slightly from the 2.992 million in the first half of 2021.

Ampol shares fell 0.6% to $32.15.