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Lukoil Says Third-quarter Net Profit Rose 10% on High Prices

Russia's biggest oil producer Lukoil said Friday that its third-quarter net profits grew by 10% in 2006 thanks to high oil prices, rising production volumes and cost-cutting.

The earnings of $2.43 billion (1.87 billion euros) beat an average forecast of $2.34 billion (1.8 billion euros) in a poll of analysts conducted by Dow Jones Newswires.

Lukoil reported total revenues of $18.25 billion (14.06 billion euros) for the quarter, up from $16.19 billion the year before as the average price for its Urals blend of crude in the period was some 15% higher than a year earlier.

The company noted in a statement that its growing tax burden had held back profit growth: Lukoil said it paid $22.3 billion (17.17 billion euros) in taxes over the full year, 28% more than in 2005.

In an earlier statement the company said that its total crude production had risen over the year by 5.7%, with average production for the year of 1.912 million barrels per day.

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