Colombian state-controlled oil company Ecopetrol SA booked a net profit of 1.7 trillion Colombian pesos ($923.6 million) in the third quarter, 42.7% more than in the same period of 2009, the firm said in a statement Tuesday.
Ecopetrol’s total sales revenues rose 16.5%, to COP8.58 trillion, from COP7.37 trillion in the same period a year ago, the company said. The company attributed the increase to higher oil prices and higher oil and gas production.
The company’s total output, including the production of the companies bought since last year, rose to an average 632,100 barrels of oil equivalent a day, a record for the firm.
The net profit is lower than what the market expected. Six analysts polled by Dow Jones Newswires had forecast a median COP2.2 trillion in net profits. The company’s earnings per share stood at COP42.06 for the third quarter.
The company is engaging in an aggressive expansion project to boost output to 750,000 barrels a day by next year. The company expects to raise output by improving the extraction rates at existing fields and from the operations it recently bought from BP PLC for $1.9 billion.
Ecopetrol is involved in production and exploration projects in the U.S. Gulf Coast, Brazil and Peru, where it was recently awarded the rights to several exploration blocks.
Higher oil prices this year have also bolstered the company’s results.
Ecopetrol calculated its budget for this year at $56 per barrel, which means that the company hasn’t had to finance its investments with loans or debt issues. The company, in which the state has an 89.9% stake, has seen the value of its American depository shares nearly double this year. On Tuesday, before the results were announced, Ecopetrol shares climbed 0.02%, to $47.91.
Mining and Energy Minister Carlos Rodado said in an interview with local media Tuesday that the company could offer additional shares next year.