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PTT Exploration Net Rises 67%, Beats Estimates as Sales Jump

PTT Exploration & Production Pcl, Thailand’s only listed oil and gas explorer, said first-quarter profit surged 67 percent to a record after prices increased.

Net income rose to 18.3 billion baht ($591 million), or 5.51 baht per share, in the three months ended March 31, from 11 billion baht, or 3.31 baht, a year earlier, the company said in a regulatory filing today. The average estimate of six analysts in a Bloomberg survey was for profit of 15.9 billion baht.

PTTEP is considering whether to raise its bid for Cove Energy Plc, after Royal Dutch Shell Plc matched its $1.8 billion offer for the London-based explorer, the company said yesterday. The Thai company plans to spend about $20 billion on expansion by 2016, and aims to triple daily production to 900,000 barrels of oil equivalent by 2020.

Revenue jumped 26 percent to 50.5 billion baht and expenses climbed 14 percent to 24.7 billion baht. The company’s average selling price surged 31 percent to $64.79 per barrel of oil equivalent. Sales volume dropped 6.6 percent to 253,411 barrels of oil equivalent per day, PTTEP said.

The company’s earnings were also boosted by a below-forecast tax bill, Piyathida Vongvicathchai, analyst at KGI Securities Thailand Pcl, said in a research note today. PTTEP paid 7.52 billion baht in income tax compared with KGI Securities’ forecast of 9.8 billion baht.

Piyathida said he expects the company to post “strong” earnings this quarter, supported by the ramping up of the S1 field in northern Thailand and the offshore Bongkot fields.

The Bongkot South field in the Gulf of Thailand started test runs in the first quarter and will probably produce 320 million cubic feet a day of natural gas and 9,000 barrels per day of condensate in the second quarter, PTTEP said in a separate statement.

The explorer has more than 40 oil and gas projects worldwide, and has said it plans to increase petroleum reserves through acquisitions and the expansion of projects in Australia, East Africa, North America and Southeast Asia.

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