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ASHLAND REPORTS RESULTS FOR DECEMBER QUARTER

 ASHLAND REPORTS RESULTS FOR DECEMBER QUARTER
 ASHLAND, Ky., Jan. 23 /PRNewswire/ -- Ashland Oil, Inc.


(NYSE: ASH) said today it had net income of $29 million, or 50 cents a share, for the quarter ended Dec. 31, 1991, the first quarter of its 1992 fiscal year.
 Ashland had a net loss of $11 million, or 19 cents a share, in the quarter last year.
 Operating income for the quarter just ended was $59 million, compared to $9 million a year ago. Sales and operating revenues were $2.5 billion for the most recent quarter and $2.6 billion in the year-earlier quarter.
 "We were pleased by record December-quarter results from Valvoline and Ashland Coal, Inc., as well as excellent results from Ashland Chemical and Ashland Exploration," said Ashland Chairman and Chief Executive Officer John R. Hall.
 "Unfortunately, refinery margins declined sharply in December as petroleum product prices fell faster than crude oil costs," Hall continued. "Soft demand and market fears of a growing crude oil surplus should Iraq succeed in re-entering the market led to an industrywide product sell-off, and wholesale product prices plunged. This resulted in a $4 million operating loss for Ashland Petroleum Company.
 "Operating income from SuperAmerica declined to $12 million, as retailers battled for market share in the face of soft gasoline demand, " he added. "December's heavy flooding in Texas and bad weather in several other operating areas marred an otherwise strong quarter from our APAC construction operations, and operating income declined to $16 million."
 Valvoline, Ashland's motor oil and automotive chemical marketing subsidiary, benefited from higher branded motor oil volumes and some improvement in margins. Operating income increased substantially to $13 million.
 Operating income from Ashland Chemical bucked the industry trend, increasing 35 percent to $29 million, including $7 million from the sale of certain technology. Excluding these proceeds, results slightly exceeded last year's quarter, reflecting improvements in specialty chemicals and distribution businesses.
 With operating income of $15 million, a 17 percent increase, Ashland Exploration had its best December quarter in 10 years. Domestic natural gas production was up 33 percent compared to a year ago and reached nearly 89 million cubic feet per day in December. The increased production made up for weak natural gas prices. Crude oil trading gains led to higher operating income from international operations, more than offsetting normal production declines in Nigeria and lower crude oil prices.
 Results from coal operations were mixed. Equity income from 46-percent-owned Ashland Coal more than doubled to $6 million, reflecting a shift from domestic spot coal sales to domestic contract sales, as well as a decrease in the average cost of sales. However, equity income from Arch Mineral Corporation declined to $2 million, reflecting lower spot coal prices and higher operating expenses.
 "In summary, several of our non-refining businesses did extremely well and exhibited resiliency in their ability to withstand poor economic and market conditions," Hall said. "Results from our refining operations were disappointing but not surprising in view of soft demand and crude oil and product oversupply. Unless market conditions improve, the second quarter may prove to be difficult for our petroleum refining operations.
 "Looking ahead, crude oil prices are expected to remain depressed and could decline further as Kuwait increases exports and Iraq attempts to re-enter the market," he added. "In addition, U.S. refiners have begun to limit refinery runs and to undertake normal maintenance turnarounds, which also should reduce production temporarily. As a result of these factors, refinery margins should improve in the spring when U.S. gasoline demand begins its seasonal upturn."
 Ashland Oil, Inc. is a diversified energy corporation engaged in petroleum refining, transportation, and marketing; retail gasoline marketing; motor oil marketing; chemicals; coal; highway construction; and oil and gas exploration and production.
 ASHLAND OIL, INC.
 (In thousands except per share data -- unaudited)
 Period Three Months
 Ended Dec. 31 1991 1990
 Revenues
 Sales & Operating
 revenues (including
 excise taxes) $2,509,786 $2,588,362
 Sales & Operating
 revenues (excluding
 excise taxes) 2,342,828 2,454,319
 Total revenues
 (including excise
 taxes) 2,528,290 2,597,085
 Results of
 Operations
 Operating income $59,283 $8,757
 Interest expense-net (29,993) (31,439)
 Equity income 10,390 8,056
 Income taxes (10,200) 3,860
 Net income (loss) $29,480 $(10,766)
 Earnings (loss)
 per share
 Primary $0.50 $(0.19)
 Assuming full dilution $0.49 $(0.19)
 AVG Common Shares
 & Equivalents
 Outstanding 58,282 55,587
 Sales & Operating
 Revenues
 Ashland Petroleum $1,224,552 $1,273,678
 SuperAmerica Group 523,275 593,738
 Valvoline 196,442 167,745
 Chemical 556,897 576,807
 Construction 280,169 295,933
 Exploration 71,612 116,364
 Intersegment sales (343,161) (435,903)
 $2,509,786 $2,588,362
 Operating Income
 (loss)
 Ashland Petroleum $(4,074) $(43,047)
 SuperAmerica Group 11,680 17,095
 Valvoline 13,138 1,178
 Chemical 28,806 21,320
 Construction 16,192 18,490
 Exploration 14,719 12,624
 General corporate
 expenses (21,178) (18,903)
 $59,283 $8,757
 Equity Income
 Arch Mineral Corp. $1,922 $5,065
 Ashland Coal, Inc. 5,654 2,258
 Other 2,814 733
 $10,390 $8,056
 -0- 1/23/92
 /CONTACT: Bill Hartl, investors, in New York, 212-421-1250, or Roger Schrum, media, in Ashland, Ky., 606-329-4061, both of Ashland Oil/
 (ASH) CO: Ashland Oil, Inc. ST: Kentucky IN: OIL SU: ERN


CD -- PG002 -- 2632 01/23/92 09:03 EST
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Date:Jan 23, 1992
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