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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted at 12:01 p.m., Thursday, May 16, 2002

Tesoro reaps top margin at Isle refinery

Advertiser Staff

Tesoro Petroleum Corp. said its Hawai'i refinery delivered more dollars per barrel than its other refineries in the first quarter.

The Hawai'i refinery had a gross margin, or dollars per barrel produced, of $3.83, that compared to $3.45 at its Alaska and Washington state refineries and $3.04 at its Utah and North Dakota refineries.

San Antonio-based Tesoro reported the numbers for the three months ended March 31 in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The Hawai'i Legislature passed a price cap for gasoline this month in part because of the perception that oil companies were charging Hawai'i consumers more for gasoline than they do on the Mainland and earning higher profit margins.

Tesoro, the operator of one of Hawai'i's two refineries, and BHP Hawaii paid $15 million in 1999 to settle a lawsuit with the state against seven oil companies that alleged the companies cooperated to keep gasoline prices high.

The other five companies agreed earlier this year to pay $20 million to settle the suit. The oil companies denied the allegations

Tesoro also said that its Hawai'i refinery accounted for 26 percent of the company's refinery output in the first quarter.

The Hawai'i refinery produced 82,000 barrels per day, second only to the 84,800 barrels per day refined at the Washington state facility.

Tesoro reported earlier this month that it had a $55.6 million loss, or $1.15 per share, in the first quarter because of higher costs and less demand for fuel.

That compared with net income of $21.7 million, or 52 cents a share, a year earlier.