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CNOOC net profit for 2008 up 42%
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CNOOC, the leading offshore oil producer in the Chinese mainland, on Tuesday reported year on year growth of 42 percent in its net profit in 2008, which was in line with market estimates.

The net profit of the Hong Kong-listed firm was 44.4 billion yuan (US$6.5 billion). The company announced a final dividend of 0.2 HK dollars (US$0.026) per share, leading to a full-year total of 0.4 HK dollars (US$0.051).

Yang Hua, the chief financial officer who on Tuesday took over from Zhou Shouwei as company president, said the company recorded oil and gas sales of 100.83 billion yuan (US$14.76 billion), up 38.1 percent from the previous year.

The growth was largely thanks to both higher output and prices.Net output of the company in 2008 grew 14 percent to 195.4 million(mm) barrels of oil equivalent, while average realized oil prices increased 34.9 percent to US$89.39 a barrel and gas prices grew 16.3 percent year on year to US$3.83 per thousand cubic feet.

The all-in cost for every barrel of oil produced by the company was US$19.78 in 2008, which was "still competitive compared with industry peers," said Fu Chengyu, chairman and chief executive of the company.

Fu said he had confidence in stable organic growth for the company in the years ahead. The company had set a goal of growing 7 percent to 11 percent in 2005 through 2010 in terms of output, with a goal of producing 225 to 231 million barrels of oil equivalent for the year 2009.

Fu said the forecast production growth for the company in 2010 was between 10 percent and 11 percent.

The company also announced a goal of growing 6 percent to 10 percent each year in 2011 through 2015, which Fu said was a sign of strong confidence as no other firm in the industry would be able to produce such a bold production growth plan for their company.

There is no plan to lay off workers and, instead, the company plans to recruit more people, said Fu.

Fu said the company will adhere to the principle that any acquisition should add to shareholder value and avoid hasty decisions under the current market condition, as assets may be cheaper but could also mean more risk.

The mother company of CNOOC was expanding into the downstream refinery and chemical operations but currently most of the expansion in this respect does not involve the listed firm, Fu said.

Price of CNOOC's Hong Kong-listed shares closed at 7.68 HK dollars, down 1.67 percent, as investors waited for the company's annual results due after market close. (6.83 HK dollars = 1 U.S. dollar, 7.8 HK dollars = 1 U.S. dollar)

(Xinhua News Agency March 31, 2009)

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