ConocoPhillips beat quarterly profit estimates on Thursday as the world's largest independent oil producer sold more oil at higher prices, sending its shares up 2 percent before the opening bell.
Total production, excluding Libya, rose 94,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boe/d) to 1.31 million boe/d in the fourth quarter.
The company also said it received $85 million from Venezuela's PDVSA in the fourth quarter as part of a $2 billion arbitration that the company is settling with the embattled state-run producer.
The $85 million brings the total payout under the agreement to $430 million, below the expected $500 million in 2018. Conoco has said that if PDVSA does not continue to meet its obligations, it would renew its efforts to seize the company's assets around the world.
A Conoco spokesman declined immediate comment on the Houston-based company’s next steps to enforce the arbitration award.
Analyst Scott Hanold of RBC Capital Markets said the company was likely to cover any shortfall in the payout "in kind", taking oil to sell to the market.
At home, Conoco, like its peers, has been riding a surge in crude production in the U.S. shale basins. The country's output has reached record levels, overtaking that of Saudi Arabia and Russia to become the top world producer.
Conoco said total realized price per barrel was $53 in the fourth quarter, compared with $46.10 per barrel a year earlier.
"The combination of production and price realizations drove the outperformance," analyst Hanold said.
In the first quarter of 2019, ConocoPhillips expects to produce 1.29 million boe/d to 1.33 million boe/d.
The company said adjusted net income rose to $1.31 billion, or $1.13 per share, in the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, from $540 million, or 45 cents per share, a year earlier.
Analysts had expected a profit of $1.01 per share, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.
Shares of the company were up 1.8 percent at $66.85 before the bell.
(Reporting by Debroop Roy in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel)
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