KUALA LUMPUR, March 4 (Reuters) - Malaysian state oil firm Petroliam Nasional (Petronas) posted a 45.4 percent jump in fourth-quarter profit, as exploration efforts at home and abroad paid off with a boost in output.
The stronger Petronas earnings came even as weak refining margins and high capital costs in finding new reserves hit fourth-quarter profits of oil majors such as BP and Exxon Mobil.
Petronas's net profit in the October to December period surged to 12.8 billion ringgit ($3.90 billion) from 8.8 billion ringgit a year ago, Petronas said, supported by higher selling prices of liquefied natural gas and a stronger U.S. dollar.
In recent years, Petronas has invested heavily in Canadian shale assets, Iraqi oil fields and explored for new reserves in Malaysia as part of its five-year 300 billion ringgit capex programme that ends in 2015.
Petronas, which finances more than a third of Malaysia's government budget via dividends, said full-year net profit climbed 10.3 percent 65.6 billion ringgit from 59.5 billion ringgit.
"Let's not talk about oil prices, let's talk about the strong production. We put in place our KPIs to boost production a few years ago and we delivered," Petronas President and CEO Shamsul Azhar Abbas told reporters at the firm's Kuala Lumpur headquarters on Tuesday.
The Fortune 500 company's total domestic and international production in 2013 rose 5.8 percent to 2.1 million barrels of oil equivalent per day (boepd) from 2 million boepd, thanks to new supply streams.
In the final quarter of 2013, production was up 6.3 percent to 2.2 million boepd from 2.1 million boepd, Petronas said. ($1 = 3.2825 Malaysian ringgits) (Reporting by Niluksi Koswanage; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)