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PetroBakken profit rises on higher crude prices

PetroBakken drilling rig.

Gord Pitts/Gord Pitts/The Globe and Mail

PetroBakken Energy Ltd.'s quarterly profit nearly doubled on higher oil prices and output, and the Canadian oil company raised its 2012 year-end production forecast.

The company, which is primarily focused on light oil, benefited from a 17-per-cent rise in U.S. crude prices during the October-December period.

Production rose 16 per cent to 48,007 barrels of oil equivalent a day (boe/d), fuelled by the rapidly rising output at its Cardium properties in Alberta that contributed more than a third of its total production.

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"They have been increasing production in the Cardium from essentially nothing a couple of years ago to more than 18,000 boe/d today," AltaCorp Capital analyst Don Rawson said.

Reserves at the Cardium unit rose by two-thirds to 72.2 million barrels of oil equivalent in 2011, taking the total to 203.5 million boe, up about a fifth.

"They have been taking money out of the Bakken effectively to fund the Cardium program," Mr. Rawson added.

In keeping with the trend, the Calgary-based company increased its 2012 capital outlay by a quarter to $875-million, looking to spend more on its Cardium assets.

The company's adjusted profit for the fourth quarter rose 90 per cent to $76,849 or 41 cents a share. Oil and natural gas revenue jumped 42 per cent to $366.9-million.

PetroBakken also raised its 2012 exit production forecast to 52,000-56,000 boe/d from the earlier forecast 50,000-54,000 boe/d.

Shares of PetroBakken rose 7 per cent Wednesday on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

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