New Delhi: State-run explorer Oil & Natural Gas Corp on Friday said third quarter net profit more than doubled, helped by rising crude oil prices and a one-time gain.

Excluding the one-time gain of Rs1,898 crore, it posted net profit of Rs5,190 crore. On that basis, analysts had expected Rs5,350 crore.

ONGC, which partially subsidises fuel sales in the form of discounts to state-run refiners, said discounts offered for the December quarter was Rs4,222 crore ($922 million) compared with Rs3,497 crore in the same period last year.

The government granted autonomy to state-run refiners in June to fix retail prices for petrol, but the government continues to control prices of diesel, cooking gas and kerosene.

Gross realisation from oil sales rose to $89.13 per barrel from $76.66 a year ago, while net proceeds after subsidies rose to $64.79 from $57.69, ONGC said in a statement.

Crude oil prices rose 14% in the fiscal third quarter.

ONGC’s oil output rose to 7.03 million tonnes from 6.6 million tonnes in the year-ago quarter.

India’s largest oil producer last week briefly halted oil and gas output after a pipeline leak caused a mile-long spill off Mumbai’s coast. The leakage led to a loss of some 25,000 barrels and caused an oil spill about 80 kilometres off Mumbai’s coast.

On Thursday, ONGC reported it had had struck shale gas at its block in West Bengal.

Profit Jumps

ONGC said net profit for its fiscal third quarter rose to Rs7,083 crore ($1.5 billion), from Rs3,054 crore a year earlier. Revenue rose 21% to Rs18,648 crore in the quarter.

A Reuters poll of brokerages had forecast net profit of Rs5,350 crore for the quarter.

Last week, energy giant Reliance Industries posted a 28% rise in quarterly profit as refining margins surged and petrochemical margins improved.

Shares in ONGC, valued at nearly $53 billion, ended up 1.9% in a weak Mumbai market ahead of the earnings. The stock has risen 9.8% in 2010, compared to a 17.4% rise in the main stock index.

The government has approved a 5% stake sale in ONGC that is expected to raise about $3 billion.

The share sale, part of a government plan to raise funds by selling stakes in 60 state-run firms over the next few years, is likely to be launched in March.

ONGC has mandated six banks for its follow-on public offer to raise about $3 billion, IFR reported this month.