Refiner Marathon Beats Profit Expectations on Robust Fuel Demand

By Reuters
November 2, 2021 Updated: November 2, 2021

Marathon Petroleum Corp. beat quarterly profit estimates on Tuesday as a rebound in fuel consumption helped the largest U.S. refiner tide over the surging cost of crude oil.

Marathon’s results followed strong earnings from other energy companies.

Valero, which was the first major U.S. refiner to report quarterly earnings, and PBF beat analysts’ estimates as gasoline and distillate consumption in the top consumer shakes off pandemic-led weakness to come back in line with five-year averages.

Marathon’s refining and marketing margin was $14.51 per barrel for the quarter ended Sept. 30, compared with $8.28 per barrel for the corresponding period last year.

Matthew Blair, an analyst at Tudor, Pickering, Holt & Co. (TPH) said good margins, as well as cost control, led to a small quarterly beat for Marathon, adding “each segment performed better than expected.”

Marathon’s total throughput, or the amount of crude processed, rose to 2.8 million barrels per day (bpd) from 2.5 bpd last year.

The Findlay, Ohio-based refiner expects fourth quarter total refinery throughput to be 2.79 bpd.

The company also said it is pursuing strategic alternatives, which could include a sale of its 68,000 bpd Kenai refinery near Anchorage, Alaska.

Adjusted net earnings for the stood at $464 million, or 73 cents per share, for the three months ended Sept. 30, compared with a loss of $649 million, or $1 per share, in the prior year.

Analysts on average had estimated a profit of 71 cents per share, according to Refinitiv IBES data.