Novatek Profit Rises as Liquids-Output Gain Counters Price Drop

OAO Novatek boosted profit 24 percent in the first quarter after it increased output of liquids, countering a decline in crude-oil prices.

Net income climbed to 31.1 billion rubles ($600 million) from 25.2 billion rubles a year earlier, Russia’s second-largest natural gas producer said in a statement Tuesday. That beat the average estimate of 28.3 billion rubles from seven analysts. Revenue rose 28 percent to 114 billion rubles.

Novatek produced more crude and gas condensate in the quarter after ramping up its SeverEnergia development in Siberia, Russia’s biggest new oil and gas project. Higher volumes helped offset an almost 50 percent decline in international crude prices from last year’s peak, while a ruble collapse boosted the value of export revenue at home.

“Liquids sales were the main driver,” Alexander Nazarov, an oil and gas analyst at OAO Gazprombank said by e-mail from Moscow. They almost doubled in ruble terms, accounting for more than half of revenue “for the first time in corporate history,” he said.

By volume, sales of crude and condensate jumped 83 percent to 2.83 million metric tons in the period, Novatek said in the statement. Natural gas sales fell 10.1 percent to almost 16 billion cubic meters in the period due to warmer weather in the first three months of 2015 compared with a year earlier, according to Novatek.

Normalized earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization including its share in joint ventures rose to 55.2 billion rubles, the company said Tuesday.

State-run OAO Gazprom, which holds a minority stake in Novatek, is the country’s largest gas producer.

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