UPDATE 1-Thai PTTEP Q3 net profit up 84 pct, tops forecasts
Tue Oct 28, 2008 3:17am EDT

* Earnings boosted by higher sales and prices

* Q4 profit seen down q/q due to lower crude oil prices (Adds details)

BANGKOK, Oct 28 (Reuters) - Thailand's PTT Exploration and Production PCL PTTE.BK (PTTEP) said on Tuesday its third-quarter net profit rose 84.3 percent, slightly above analysts' forecasts, due to higher petroleum sales.

PTTEP, a subsidiary of PTT PCL PTT.BK, Thailand's top energy firm, posted a July-September net profit of 12.98 billion baht ($372 million), or 3.93 baht per share, up from 7.05 billion a year earlier.

Eight analysts surveyed by Reuters had forecast a net profit of 12.5 billion baht for the quarter.

Third-quarter sales rose 80 percent to 40 billion baht due to average selling prices rising to $54.52 per barrel of oil equivalent versus $38.75 a year earlier, it said in a statement.

Average daily petroleum sales increased to 240,839 barrels of oil equivalent per day due to rising output from the main Arthit and G4/43 fields in the Gulf of Thailand, it said.

Analysts expect sales volume to rise to 250,000 BOED in the fourth quarter due to the start of a project in the Arthit North field and an increase in crude production at its Vietnamese 9-2 block.

However earnings are forecast to fall from the third quarter due to the sharp drop in crude oil prices.

Many analysts are upbeat on PTTEP's long-term outlook as the company has at least three key projects scheduled to start between the end of 2008 and 2010, which should drive sales volume to rise at an average 15 percent a year during 2008-2010.

Before the earnings announcement, PTTEP shares rose 7.33 percent to 80.50 baht at the midday break, while the overall Thai market index .SETI was 2.8 percent higher.

So far this year, the stock has fallen more than 50 percent, in line with crude prices, on concerns that the global financial crisis could hit global economy and oil demand. ($1 = 33.87 Baht)
(Reporting by Khettiya Jittapong; Editing by Ed Cropley)