The string of huge gains in oil company earnings continued Friday with


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, although operating earnings appeared to fall well short of Wall Street estimates.

San Ramon, Calif.-based ChevronTexaco earned $3.2 billion, or $1.51 a share, in the three months ended Sept. 30, compared with earnings of $1.98 billion, or $1.01 a share, last year. Revenue rose 32% from a year ago to $39.6 billion, driven by a nearly 40% rise in average U.S. oil and gas prices, to $36.26, in the quarter.

The latest quarter included gains of 23 cents a share, before which the company earned $1.28 a share. On that basis, analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call had been expecting earnings of $1.37 a share.

Chevron's upstream exploration and production division produced income from continuing operations of $2.32 billion in the quarter, up from $1.57 billion a year ago, while its downstream refining, marketing and transportation segment earned $490 million, up from $181 million in 2003.

Worldwide oil-equivalent production fell about 6% from a year ago, mostly because of divested assets and the impact of hurricanes in the Gulf Coast.

The profit picture was largely the same at


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, where third-quarter earnings shot up 46% from a year ago to $399 million, or $1.58 a share, on a 17% jump in revenue to $1.56 billion. Adjusted earnings of $1.87 a share were 22 cents better than forecasts.

Pride International


swung to a quarterly loss of $18.2 million, or 13 cents a share, because of charges for debt refinancing and hurricane damage. Excluding the charges, the company earned 7 cents a share, a penny better than estimates. Revenue fell 2% from a year ago to $443 million.