By Stanley Carvalho
UPDATE 1: Sharjah-based company earns $9.53m Q4 net profit.
Abu Dhabi-listed Dana Gas fourth-quarter net profit fell 10 percent, broadly in line with analyst forecasts average, and said it planned to increase oil production by over 70 percent in 2009.Dana Gas, whose profit for the three months to Dec. 31 amounted to 35 million dirhams ($9.53 million), said in a statement on Sunday it plans to produce 68,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day by end-2009.
Full-year net profit rose eight percent to 120 million dirhams, it said, without giving a figure for the fourth quarter, which Reuters calculated from previous financial data.
It did not give a reason for the decline in the quarter profit, but said its 2008 revenues from oil and gas rose 10 percent to 1.14 billion dirhams.
Analyst forecasts of Dana's fourth-quarter profit ranged from 28 million dirhams to 46.1 million dirhams, according to a Reuters survey last month.
Dana Gas earned 85 million dirhams in the first nine months of 2008 and 39 million dirhams in the fourth quarter of 2007.
Total assets on Dec. 31 were unchanged at 10.8 billion dirhams and cash and bank balances stood at 789 million dirhams.
"We ... continue to maintain a healthy liquidity position, with no exposure to the market downturn in real estate or financial investments", said Neeraj Agrawal, finance director.
Oil and gas production in Egypt were at a year-end exit rate of 31,640 barrels of oil equivalent.
Dana produced 10.6 million barrels of oil equivalent in 2008 in Egypt and new discoveries have more than doubled its oil reserves in the North African nation, it said.
In Iraq's Kurdistan region, gas production commenced in the fourth quarter at a gross rate of 80 million standard cubic feet per day, leading to a 50 percent increase in total operated production for Dana Gas.
"We are on target to increase our production by over 70 percent in the coming year, and the majority of our revenues are currently from fixed long-term contracts, which also offers some protection from volatile oil prices," said Executive Chairman Hamid Jafar.
This year, Dana expects the start up of the UAE Gas Project and fast track development of the Zora Gas Field in Sharjah. (Reuters)