Q26-30 第六篇 —— 经济《英国石油业》
Graham Mansfield is head of downstream operations at the UK oil company Apos Oil. The downstream end of the business, which includes the refining of petroleum products and their subsequent sale to retail customers, operates within a relatively short-term timescale. In contrast, the upstream end of the business, which is concerned with the exploration and extraction of oil, takes a long view of technology and the environment that may stretch over several decades.
本次中级口译阅读考试最后一篇文章节选了经济型题材，涉及的行业为石油领域，文章开篇点题，在第一句话中阐述了“UK oil company”，“refining of petroleum”，“exploration and extraction of oil”，(英国石油公司、石油精炼、石油勘探与凝练)，通过任何一个词组，都能判断文章的题材与主旨为石油。
考生应有相关的基础知识，即一些高频常见金融词组，如downstream & upstream of the business(上游、下游产业)，retail customer(零售客户)。此外，段尾还提及“technology”与“environment”的信息，是中口阅读三大板块：金融、科技、环保的结合。
Mansfield says of his side of the business. “At the refining and retail end we are constantly struggling to make a profit. Margins are tight and competition is fierce. Having said that, aspects of this business do demand a range of management expertise. Knowing what rivals are charging for fuel at petrol stations, which oil products investment funds are buying and how sales respond to the weather are all a vital part of the job. Of course we don’t work on such a long timescale as the extraction side of operations, so there’s a lot less forward planning.第二段讲述石油公司的收益，相关词汇“tight margin”，“fierce competition”，利润紧缩，激烈竞争。
But there may be tougher times ahead. “Ten years ago, Apo’s target return on capital for the refining and retail end of the business was about 15%, and it was difficult to reach that figure then,” says Mansfield. “Today, we’re only seeing larger returns because we invested in some oil refineries at a low point in the market and we’ve been enjoying the margins from that increased production.” However, because the refinery business generally has become so profitably, it is set to attract new investment, and the global capacity for refining oil is expected to rise enormously. The result, according to analysts, is that the refining margins currently enjoyed by oil companies could become a thing of the past.
One strategy that cannot save the industry during an economic downswing is getting further into general retailing. Mansfield says, “Ten years ago, the downstream industry thought it could save itself by selling more food at its petrol stations. It was generally profitable, depending on which locations you looked at. Differentiating our existing products, and constantly changing what was on offer – that was the key.”
第四段描述现状的趋势。单一战略不再能拯救金融市场的下滑，这一现象延伸到了普通零售行业。金融上升、下跌词汇在此刻考察，如“downswing”，此外，常考涨跌词还有plunge, flop, downsize, fall, decline, drop; soar, rocket, surge, burst, bubble等。
However, the possibility of global overproduction of oil has made Apos think carefully about further expansion plans. “National oil companies are on the move,” says Mansfield. “They’re currently announcing additional capacity. Our economics are very different from those of the national oil companies, so we won’t grow as aggressively as they do. We’ve identified a country where we’d like to have oil refining capacity, though, so we’ll work hard on establishing that. The USA is also building refineries, which we’ve been part of the, and we’ll be doubling our capacity at one of our existing refineries there. We can do that without a huge financial outlay.
末段拓展衍生，畅想未来的发展，即英国石油公司的拓张计划。英国内部空间有限，未来的发展将依赖国际市场，英国石油公司以与美国合作，并将产能扩展至世界范围领域。国际金融词汇也有所考察， 如“overproduction”，“expansion plan”，“additional capacity”，“financial outlay”产能过剩，扩张计划，额外容量，金融花费。