Earnings more than doubled in Occidental Petroleum's ( OXY) third quarter, as two gains combined with higher energy prices to fatten the bottom line. The company earned $1.75 billion, or $4.32 a share, in the quarter, compared with $758 million, or $1.91 a share, a year ago. The latest quarter included a gain of $463 million related to the acquisition of Premcor by Valero ( VLO), a $335 million tax benefit and a $98 million writeoff. Before items, Occidental's "core" earnings rose 43% from a year ago to $1.09 billion, or $2.69 a share. Analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call were expecting earnings of $2.63 a share. Occidental earned $1.76 billion in its oil and gas division compared with $1.22 billion a year ago. In its chemical segment, earnings were $3 million in the latest quarter compared with $141 million last year. The rise in oil and gas profits reflected $692 million for higher worldwide gas and crude prices offset partially by higher costs. The big quarter follows blowout results last week from Exxon ( XOM), Chevon ( CVX) and Royal Dutch ( RDS-A).