Russian oil producer Lukoil says 3Q net profits rose 10 percent on high prices

Russia's biggest oil producer OAO Lukoil said Friday that its third-quarter net profits grew by 10 percent in 2006 thanks to high oil prices, rising production volumes and cost-cutting.

The earnings of US$2.43 billion (Ђ1.87 billion) beat an average forecast of US$2.34 billion (Ђ1.8 billion) in a poll of analysts conducted by Dow Jones Newswires.

Lukoil reported total revenues of US$18.25 billion (Ђ14.06 billion) for the quarter, up from US$16.19 billion the year before as the average price for its Urals blend of crude in the period was some 15 percent higher than a year earlier.

The company noted in a statement that its growing tax burden had held back profit growth: Lukoil said it paid US$22.3 billion (Ђ17.17 billion) in taxes over the full year, 28 percent more than in 2005, reports AP.

In an earlier statement the company said that its total crude production had risen over the year by 5.7 percent, with average production for the year of 1.912 million barrels per day.

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