( UCL), the oil company that's now the subject of intense takeover efforts by


(CVX) - Get Report

and China's


(CEO) - Get Report

, saw its quarterly revenue and earnings lifted from a year ago thanks in part to higher worldwide crude oil and natural gas prices.

For the second quarter, the company earned $475 million, or $1.73 a share, compared with $341 million, or $1.25 a share, a year ago. The earnings were the highest quarterly level in the company's history. Revenue rose to $2.21 billion from $1.86 billion.

Excluding items and the effect of accounting changes, adjusted earnings totaled $488 million, or $1.77 a share. The Thomson First Call mean of analysts' estimates was $1.63. In the second quarter of 2004, Unocal's adjusted profit was $231 million, or 86 cents a share.

In addition to the higher crude and gas prices, the second quarter also benefited from improved international production, lower exploration and dry-hole costs and reduced interest expenses. Partly offsetting the positives was lower North American natural gas production.

Hydrocarbon liquids and natural gas production for the second quarter averaged 459,000 barrels a day, up nearly 14% from the same period a year ago. Price realizations, including hedging activities, for natural gas averaged $4.20 per thousand cubic feet, up from $3.65 last year. Worldwide liquids price realizations were $47.94 a barrel, up from $32.61 the previous year.

Unocal currently expects worldwide average production for the full year to exceed 430,000 barrels a day, compared with 440,000 previously estimated. The change reflects the expected loss of production from the planned sale of Unocal's Northrock unit in the third quarter.

According to published reports, Chinese oil company CNOOC is near a decision to either raise its bid for Unocal to $20 billion or walk away from its proposal. Chevron, which also reported its results Friday, has offered $17 billion for Unocal.