Wintershall Dea Q3 earnings more than double on higher prices, spending cuts

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FRANKFURT, Oct 26 (Reuters) - Oil and gas producer Wintershall Dea's (WINT.UL) most closely watched measure of earnings more than doubled in the third quarter, it said on Tuesday, benefiting from soaring oil and gas prices and spending cuts.

The company, owned jointly by BASF (BASFn.DE) and Russia's LetterOne, posted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, amortisation, and exploration expenses (EBITDAX) - a standard oil industry measure - of 983 million euros ($1.14 billion) in the three months to end September.

That represents a rise of 146% from the same period of 2020, when a drop in commodity prices caused by the coronavirus crisis hit results.

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Adjusted net income of 234 million euros was up 245%. Oil and gas prices have reached multi-year highs, with Brent crude oil up 69% this year and LNG to Asia up 60%.

"Q3 2021 was an exceptional quarter underpinned by a constructive commodity price environment, and in particular by European gas prices which are expected to stay high throughout the winter," Chief Executive Mario Mehren said.

Quarterly production was down 3% at 588 million barrels of oil equivalent (mboe/day) due to a fire at a third-party gas and condensate treatment plant in Russia, but operations are now fully back online, the company said.

Guidance for full-year production was revised down to 615,000-630,000 mboe/day, from 630,000-640,000 mboe/d in the previous quarter.

Capital expenditure fell 17% to 210 million euros and is on track to achieve unchanged full-year guidance of 1-1.1 billion euros. Net debt decreased 42% to 3.39 billion euros in the quarter.

In a new focus on energy transition businesses such as clean hydrogen and carbon capture and storage (CCS), Wintershall Dea reported significant progress at the Greensand CCS project in Denmark, where it expects to be injecting first volumes in late 2022.

The company produces gas and oil in 13 countries, with Russia, Norway, Argentina, North Africa and the Middle East its core regions.

Production costs in the July to September period were up by 20% to 3.8 euros per boe/day from third quarter 2020.

($1 = 0.8593 euros)

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Reporting by Vera Eckert; Editing by Jan Harvey

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