Chinese oil and gas company PetroChina on Thursday reported record net profits for 2022, predicting further extraction rises next year.

The company expects Chinese refined fuel demand to rise 3% this year from pre-Covid 2019 levels, Reuters reports. It also expects natural gas to be up 5.5% from last year. The group aims to raise crude throughput to 1.3 billion barrels this year, up 6.6% from last year.

A PetroChina statement said that it aims to produce 912.9 million barrels of crude oil and 4.89 billion cubic feet (bcf) of natural gas this year, which would be an increase of 0.8% and 4.6% respectively from 2022 levels. Capital spending will also set increase by 13%.

PetroChina is Asia’s largest oil and gas producer. It made a statement on its predicted oil and gas recovery during an earnings call on Thursday, after reporting a surge of 62.1% net profit on Wednesday.

High energy prices helped the company offset weak demand for fuel and chemicals over the last two years. The company’s net profit reached $21.69bn last year, while total revenue rose 24% to $471.5bn, it said in a filing to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.

PetroChina produced 2.1% more crude oil last year, with production totalling 906.2 million barrels, the equivalent to 2.5 million barrels per day. Natural gas output rose 5.8% to 4,675 bcf.

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By GlobalData

Outside of China, crude oil production grew 3.3% to 139 million barrels due to the company making new source discoveries in Chad and Niger, as well as extending its production in Kazakhstan.

However, its throughput of refined crude dipped 1% last year to 1.2 billion barrels, equivalent to 3.32 million barrels per day. This is due in part to a reduction in Chinese consumption of gasoline and aviation fuel amid Covid-19 control measures.

As a result of lockdowns and social control during the pandemic, PetroChina recorded a 6.5% drop in domestic sales of gasoline, diesel and kerosene combined. “For 2023, the global economy is expected to continue to recover but at a slower pace and there are still many unstable and uncertain factors,” a spokesperson for the company said via Reuters.