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Oil Producer CNOOC Sees 2008 Profit Rise 43%

CNOOC, China's third-largest oil and gas producer, said Tuesday its 2008 profit surged 43 percent as oil prices boomed but warned this year's outlook was more somber due to a price slump.

Profit rose to 44.4 billion yuan ($6.5 billion), or 0.99 yuan per share, compared with 31.3 billion yuan, or 0.72 yuan per share, in 2007, the Beijing-based company said. Revenues soared 39 percent to 126 billion yuan ($18.4 billion).

CNOOC, which trades on the New York Stock Exchange in the United States, is an oil producer with no refining operations, so it was spared losses that other major Chinese oil companies suffered due to government controls that barred them from passing on rises in crude costs to consumers. Sinopec Ltd., Asia's biggest refiner by volume, said Sunday its 2008 profits plunged 47 percent due to such losses.

Oil Pump
Oil Pump

In a statement, CNOOC Chairman Fu Chengyu cautioned that 2009 would be tougher following the drop in global oil prices and weak demand.

"The global economy is still in the dark night. Oil prices continue to wane. For the oil industry, the cold winter still prevails," Fu said. However, he said, "we will not lose confidence and stand still today but will ensure that we will not miss out on development opportunities that lie ahead."

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