UPDATE 2-Argentina YPF posts higher recurring profit, takes big charge
* YPF 2nd quarter profit rises 31 pct on sales, prices
* Energy company takes 855 mln peso charge in Brazil case
* Harmful refinery fire hits output, costs
BUENOS AIRES, Aug 12 (Reuters) - Argentina's state-controlled energy company, YPF, said on Monday second-quarter recurring profit rose 31 percent from a year earlier, and the company also disclosed a multimillon-peso charge related to an adverse arbitration ruling.
YPF took a charge of 855 million pesos in the latest quarter due to the arbitration ruling in a case over the suspension of natural gas exports to Brazil.
Plaintiffs are reported to be seeking well over $1 billion in compensation for YPF's suspension of gas exports, starting in 2004, and its cancellation of contracts with AES Uruguaiana (AESU) y Transportadora de Gas del Mercosur in 2009.
At that time, YPF was controlled by Spain's Repsol. The center-left government of President Cristina Fernandez seized Repsol's majority stake in the country's biggest energy producer last year.
Recurring profit in the second quarter rose to 1.09 billon pesos ($204.2 million) from 833 million pesos a year earlier.
An increase in domestic sales, higher prices for fuel and wellhead natural gas, as well as the possibility to export crude that had not been processed helped offset a near two-month outage at Argentina's largest oil refinery complex.
"Growth was achieved despite the economic impact of the unprecedented storm that affected the La Plata refinery," YPF said in a statement.
BLAZE CURBS PROFIT
A harmful fire swept through the refinery at the 188,000 barrel a day refinery on April 2 due to a severe storm. The refinery is now producing 25,000 cubic meters of crude per day, down from the total capacity of 28,500 it boasted before the blaze.
YPF estimates operational income suffered a hit of roughly $150 million from the fire during the quarter.
The effect is "mainly due to import volumes of fuel oil, gasoline, diesel and (aviation fuel) JP1 which the company was not able to produce because of the fire at the refinery," said Chief Financial Officer Daniel Gonzalez during a conference call. He added that the company decided to import in order to keep clients satisfied.
The refinery's new Coke A project, which YPF began building a few months before the fire, is expected to start operations in 2015, Gonzalez added.
Crude oil production inched up 0.4 percent in the second quarter from a year earlier, while natural gas output fell 3.2 percent.