Tesoro's highest gas margin is at Hawai'i refinery
Tesoro Petroleum Corp. said its Hawai'i refinery delivered more dollars per barrel than its other refineries in the first quarter.
The Hawaiii 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.
Tesoro reported the numbers for the three months ended March 31 in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Hawai'i had the highest margin because the Washington and Utah refineries were unable to produce more profitable lighter petroleum products during part of the quarter, reducing their margins, said Susan Lerette, vice president for communications at Tesoro headquarters in San Antonio.
The Washington refinery was undergoing maintenance for part of the quarter and the Utah refinery had a fire caused by a power surge, she said.
"Historically the Washington margin had been higher," said Lerette.
The Hawai'i Legislature passed a price cap for gasoline this month in part because of the perception that oil firms were charging consumers more for gasoline in Hawai'i than on the Mainland and earning higher profit margins.
Tesoro, operator of one of Hawai'i's two refineries, and BHP Hawaii paid $15 million in 1999 to settle a lawsuit with the state that alleged that seven oil companies cooperated to keep gasoline prices high. The other five companies agreed earlier this year to pay $20 million to settle. The oil firms denied the allegations.
Tesoro said 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 at the Washington state facility.
Earlier this month, Tesoro reported 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 earnings of $21.7 million, or 52 cents a share, a year earlier.