Petro-Canada profit boosted by record oil prices

Thu Jul 24, 2008 10:26am EDT
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TORONTO (Reuters) - Second-quarter profit at Petro-Canada shot 77 percent higher due largely to higher oil prices, the country's No. 4 oil producer and refiner said on Thursday.

Petro-Canada, which is nearing completion of a C$2.2 billion ($2.2 billion) Alberta refinery conversion project, said profit rose to C$1.5 billion, or C$3.10 a share, from a year-earlier profit of C$845 million, or C$1.71 a share.

Excluding one-time and unusual items, Petro-Canada posted operating earnings of C$1.15 billion, or C$2.38 a share, up 43 percent from C$805 million, or C$1.63 a share.

Analysts polled by Reuters Estimates had forecast, on average, earnings of C$2.50 a share.

Petro-Canada also said it expects its 2008 capital and exploration expenditures to reach C$6.16 billion, up from the C$5.28 billion estimate it offered in December.

Cash flow, a glimpse into an oil company's ability to fund development, increased 35.7 percent to C$1.9 billion, or C$4.09 a share, from C$1.4 billion, or C$2.74 a share.

Revenue was C$7.6 billion, up 38 percent from C$5.5 billion.

Petro-Canada and its rivals have reaped rewards from oil prices that soared 90 percent to a record quarterly average of $123.80 a barrel. Natural gas prices in Canada also surged, averaging C$9.68 per gigajoule, a 44 percent gain from 2007.

Petro-Canada's overall production averaged 414,000 barrels of oil equivalent a day, down 2.5 percent from the same period in 2007.   Continued...