Sinopec reported a good start to 2018. Profits beat market expectations with higher oil prices driving a much improved upstream result. A robust performance in the refining and marketing segment also helped quarterly earnings reach their highest level since mid-2015. But upstream operational performance was mixed with domestic gas output notably flat. Sinopec Corp's balance sheet also continued to strengthen during the quarter. With almost no net debt the company is in a good position to refocus on investment and make strategic progress through 2018.