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Occidental's Profits Head Higher

Earnings and revenue top estimates for the fourth quarter.
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Occidental Petroleum


, the latest big oil company to see higher energy prices drive up its earnings, said its fourth-quarter profits rose more than 50% from a year ago.

The company earned $1.15 billion, or $2.80 a share, in the quarter, compared with $742 million and $1.83 a share, for the fourth quarter of 2004. Excluding certain items, Occidental had core fourth-quarter earnings of $1.16 billion, or $2.86 a share.

Sales for the fourth quarter rose to $4.33 billion from $3.08 billion last year.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call were looking for a profit of $2.76 a share and revenue of $4.27 billion.

Worldwide production averaged 589,000 barrels of oil equivalent a day in the fourth quarter, an increase of 4.8% from the third quarter, marking the highest quarterly production rate in Occidental's history. The production exit rate for December was 596,000 barrels of oil equivalent a day.

For all of 2005, Occidental earned $5.28 billion on sales of $15.21 billion.

Shares of Occidental were down $1.29, or 1.4%, to $92.70 in early trading Tuesday.