February 9, 2012 / 1:12 PM / in 6 years

Husky profit up, full-year refining margin may slip

(Reuters) - Husky Energy Inc (HSE.TO), Canada’s No. 3 oil producer and refiner, said its fourth-quarter profit nearly tripled as it sold more oil for higher prices, but signalled volatility in refining margins this year.

The company, controlled by Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing, said net income rose to C$408 million ($409.91 million), or 42 Canadian cents per share, from C$139 million, or 16 Canadian cents, a year ago.

Production rose 14 percent to 318,900 barrels of oil equivalent per day.

Husky said its results also benefited from higher margins as the crude they refine traded at a discount to global prices.

However, the company added that it is seeing significant volatility in the price spreads, signalling that 2012 refining margins might be pressured.

The company also gained from strong oil prices in the quarter as West Texas Intermediate crude contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange -- the North American benchmark -- averaged $92.39 a barrel, up 10 percent from a year earlier.

Husky’s cash flow -- a key indicator of its ability to pay for new projects -- rose to C$1.2 billion, or C$1.24 a share, from C$685 million, or 80 Canadian cents a share, a year ago.

($1 = 0.9954 Canadian dollars)

Reporting by Aftab Ahmed in Bangalore and Scott Haggett in Calgary; Editing by Joyjeet Das

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