Occidental Petroleum ( OXY) reported an increase of 72% in third-quarter earnings as production rose and crude oil and natural gas prices were higher. Net income rose to $2.27 billion, or $2.78 a share, in the third quarter from $1.32 billion, or $1.58 a share a year earlier. Net sales in the quarter rose to $7.1 billion from $4.8 billion. Production in the quarter rose 3%, said Occidental, an oil and gas exploration and production company. "As we look forward, we believe our disciplined approach to fiscal management has positioned the company to continue to succeed in the current economic climate,'' said Ray Irani, Occidental chairman and CEO. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters estimated third-quarter earnings of $2.71 a share.