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Feb 24 (Reuters) - EOG Resources Inc reported a better-than-expected fourth-quarter profit on Monday as the U.S. oil and natural gas company pumped more crude oil from fields such as the Eagle Ford in Texas.
EOG, which said it expects higher spending of $8.1 billion to $8.3 billion this year, has invested heavily in North American shales that produce higher-return oil, a strategy that helped push the company's crude and condensate output up 50 percent in the fourth quarter.
Shares of EOG rose to $184 per share in post-market trading on Monday, up 2 percent from the New York Stock Exchange close of $180.40.
The Houston-based company had a profit of $580 million, or $2.12 per share, compared with a loss of $505 million, or $1.88 per share when EOG wrote down the value of some Canadian assets.
Excluding one-time items, EOG had a fourth-quarter profit of $2.00 per share. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S had expected a profit of $1.94 per share.
For 2014, EOG forecast crude oil production growth of 27 percent, fueled in part by the Eagle Ford output in Texas.
"To put our Eagle Ford position in simple terms, our current reserve potential is almost four times what we estimated four years ago when EOG discovered the play," Chief Executive Officer Bill Thomas said in a statement.
Its board of directors approved a two-for-one stock split in the form of a stock dividend that is payable to shareholders of record as of March 17.