Increased losses in PetroChina’s refining business caused the company’s first-half net profits to plunge 34.5 percent, AP reported. Chinese domestic price controls were a big factor in the losses. In the first half of the year, the company earned US$7.8 billion, compared with US$11.96 billion in profits a year earlier. Chinese refiners suffer losses because price controls on fuel and other oil products prevent them from passing on higher costs for imported crude oil to consumers. PetroChina said the loss for its refining and marketing business surged to US$8.6 billion in the first half of the year, compared with a US$570 million profit in the same period in 2007. Operating expenses jumped 64%, mainly due to higher costs for crude oil, feedstock oil and refined products.