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Thai refiner IRPC's quarterly profit more than doubles on rising oil prices

BANGKOK, Nov 3 (Reuters) - Thai oil refiner IRPC Pcl's net profit more than doubled in the third quarter as the subsidiary of energy giant PTT Group benefited from rising oil prices and higher margins on its chemical products.

Temporary shutdowns at U.S. refineries after hurricanes on the East Cost and regional maintenance shutdowns also pushed product prices higher, the company said in a statement.

Its net profit surged 149 percent in July-September from a year earlier to 3.25 billion baht ($98 million), beating a forecast of 2.56 billion baht in a Reuters survey of four analysts and helped by 1.1 billion baht in gains on its oil stocks as oil prices improved.

Net sales surged 26 percent to 52.3 billion baht and average product prices increased 4 percent, while its average profit margin was 5.73 percent, up from 2.86 percent a year ago.

Market gross refining margins (GRM), or the difference between the price of crude oil and the value of products was at $15.05 per barrel, up $2.55 from the same period last year on better petroleum and petrochemical product spreads.

IRPC booked a total market GRM of 9.3 billion baht, up from 7.1 billion baht a year earlier.

It said it expects oil prices to be in the range of $52-$58 per barrel in the next quarter.

Benchmark Brent crude was trading at $60.76/barrel on Friday ($1 = 33.1200 baht) (Reporting by Chayut Setboonsarng; Editing by Susan Fenton)