Delta’s refinery reports first quarterly profit

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Delta Air Lines’ Trainer oil refinery reported a $3 million profit in the third quarter, its first since the airline acquired the facility more than a year ago.

The Pennsylvania refinery generated $1.89 billion in operating revenue during the period, a 1.6% increase compared to the second quarter.

“Production has proven to be effective in keeping jet crack spreads in check, particularly in the New York harbour,” said Richard Anderson, chairman and chief executive of Atlanta-based Delta, during an earnings call on 22 October.

Delta paid an average of $2.97 per gallon of jet fuel in the third quarter. This met a prediction by Anderson earlier in October that the airline would have the “lowest fuel price probably in the industry”.

Alaska Airlines paid an average of $3.24 per gallon, American Airlines $3.04 per gallon, US Airways $3.01 per gallon and United Airlines $3.12 during the quarter.

Delta is focused on boosting profits at Trainer. Initiatives to achieve this include sourcing lower cost Bakken crude from North Dakota, increasing jet fuel production and various operational initiatives, says Anderson.

The airline invested $13 million in the refinery during the third quarter.

Production at Trainer fell by 10,000 barrels per day to 172,000 in the quarter, even as revenues increased.

Delta did not immediately respond to repeated requests for comment on the lower production level.

The facility provided the airline with about 165,000 barrels of jet fuel per day either through production or exchange of non-jet products.

About 22% of Trainer’s production was jet fuel this past May.

The refinery exchanges the majority of non-jet products with Phillips 66 under a multi-year agreement, and the balance was sold to BP under a long-term agreement, according to Delta.