Delta Anticipates 2Q Profit Thanks to Refinery

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Delta Air Lines Inc said it expects a profit of $75 million to $100 million in the second quarter from its Trainer, Pennsylvania, refinery, which it expects to be up and running at full capacity this week.

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Delta President Edward Bastian told a JPMorgan conference that was carried over the Internet that the refinery operated at 75 percent of its capacity for most of the first quarter because of operational issues. "Yet we still expect to break even on the facility in the (first) quarter," Bastian said on Monday.

Had the facility been running at full capacity in the first quarter, Bastian said Trainer would have likely produced a profit of $60 million.

"There's evidence here that we're going to make this work for us; but like anything that's big and new and different, it's taken us a little bit longer to turn on than we thought," Bastian said.

Delta bought the refinery last year from Phillips 66 in a bid to gain more control over fuel costs. It said at the time it expected to save about $300 million annually off its yearly fuel bill of $12 billion.

Bastian also said Delta was active in making arrangements to source Bakken crude for the refinery and was working with a number of parties to deliver crude shipments by rail this year.