Chinese oil giant PetroChina released what it said was "better-than-expected operating results" for the first quarter (Q1) as net profits plummeted 82 percent to 6.15 billion yuan about (1 billion U.S. dollars).
The company attributed the slump to plunging oil prices and weak domestic demand.
However, the results were better than expected, the company said, thanks to its low-cost development scheme, which has further reduced costs while increasing efficiency, and promoting reform and innovation as growth drivers.
The company said that it had taken proactive measures to cope with the plunge in oil prices and emphasized cost reduction and efficiency improvement, resulting in a 3.7 percent reduction in operating costs year on year for exploration and production, according to China's (Xinhua) News Agency.
In Q1, the company's crude oil output was 239.4 million barrels, representing an increase of 3.3 percent year on year; natural gas output was 850.8 billion cubic feet, up 7.7 percent.
Amid sagging oil prices, the company also streamlined its sales strategies by focusing on prioritized regions and high-margin products. As a result, the company sold 37.71 million tonnes of gasoline, diesel and kerosene, up 10.4 percent year on year.