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Big Earnings Increase at ChevronTexaco

The company's profit beats estimates, and sales are also higher.

ChevronTexaco

(CVX) - Get Report

posted a big increase in second-quarter earnings thanks in part to higher crude oil and natural gas prices.

The company earned $1.6 billion, or $1.50 a share, compared with $407 million, or 39 cents a share, a year ago. The results included asset write-down charges of $117 million in 2003, while last year's quarterly charges were $826 million.

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Revenue in the second quarter rose to $29.4 billion from $25.3 billion a year ago.

ChevronTexaco also said its refining, marketing and transportation businesses had higher profits, which helped boost the quarter's results. Excluding charges, the company earned $1.61 a share, up from $1.16 a share last year. Analysts were expecting $1.52 a share.

Average U.S. crude oil and natural gas liquids prices in the quarter reached $25.25 a barrel, up $3.50, the company said. Internationally, the average liquids price increased to more than $24 a barrel, up more than $1.

The average U.S. natural gas sales price was $5.11 per thousand cubic feet, up 68%, while internationally, the average price rose 37% from the prior-year quarter to $2.66.

Additionally, foreign-currency losses recorded during the quarter were essentially unchanged at $157 million.