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Japan's Cosmo expects around 90% refinery run rate in 2024-25

(Reuters) - Japanese oil company Cosmo Energy Holdings expects its refinery run rate to hover around 90% in the business year starting in April as it plans maintenance shutdowns at its Chiba and Yokkaichi sites, an executive said on Thursday.

The estimated run rate for its three refineries in the current year through March 31 is 87.5%, factoring in the impact of scheduled maintenance, down from 97.8% a year earlier, the company said.

The reduced run rate is attributed to scheduled turnaround at its Chiba and Sakai refineries, coupled with technical problems encountered at refineries, including Yokkaichi, according to a company spokesperson.

"For the next year, our plan includes large-scale maintenance on Yokkaichi and No.2 unit in Chiba, mirroring the work we did this year with Sakai and No.1 unit in Chiba," Senior Managing Executive Officer Takayuki Uematsu told a news conference.

As a result, the utilization ratio is expected to come in at around 90%, he said.

"But we aim to enhance earnings by avoiding unplanned outages," he added, saying the company's profit in the April to December period was reduced by 17 billion yen ($114 million) due to unforeseen shutdowns.

Cosmo on Thursday reported a 26% drop in April-December net profit as lower oil prices reduced inventory valuation gains.

It posted a profit of 45.8 billion yen in the nine months through Dec. 31 against 62.1 billion yen a year earlier and stuck to its full-year profit forecast of 78 billion yen.

Cosmo has not succeeded in Japan's public auctions for offshore wind power projects, but its goal to develop 600 megawatts of offshore wind farms by 2030 remains unchanged, Uematsu said.

"Considering that all the auctioned projects have been granted to consortia involving major trading companies, we acknowledge the significant influence of their network power," he said.

"We are deeply thinking about partners and relationships."

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