TORONTO (Reuters) - Talisman Energy TLM.TO said on Wednesday first-quarter profit fell 10 percent but its operating profit jumped, as Canada's No. 3 independent oil exploration firm benefited from higher commodity prices.
The drop from last year's net reflected one-time gains from asset sales in 2007. Talisman's earnings from operations in the first quarter of 2008 jumped 76 percent.
The company said it earned C$466 million ($461 million), or 46 Canadian cents a share, in the quarter, down from C$520 million, or 49 Canadian cents, in the first quarter of 2007.
Earnings from operations, which exclude most one-time gains and charges, rose to C$476 million, or 47 Canadian cents a share, from C$270 million, or 26 Canadian cents, in the year-prior quarter.
The operating result beat the 40 Canadian cents average profit forecast among analysts polled by Reuters Estimates.
Talisman and its peers have benefited from oil prices that averaged near $98 a barrel in the first quarter, up 68 percent from the year before. Crude has since climbed even higher to nearly $120 a barrel.
Talisman's oil and gas production from properties in North America, the North Sea and Southeast Asia, fell 11 percent to 419,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day, reflecting the Brae non-core asset sale and planned shutdowns, the company said.
Cash flow, a key indicator of the firm's ability to fund new projects, rose 23 percent to C$1.23 billion, or C$1.21 per share, from C$1.00 billion, or 96 Canadian cents a share.
Reporting by Jonathan Spicer; editing by Janet Guttsman