Canadian first quarter earnings gain on higher prices

Sales growth and higher commodity prices produced stronger results for Canadian oil and natural gas companies during the first quarter of 2003. Improved refining margins benefited the downstream sector as well.The collective earnings of the 24 Canadian producers and service and supply companies that OGJ sampled increased 250% on earnings that jumped 52% from the same period a year earlier.Results are reported in Canadian dollars unless otherwise noted, and all companies discussed here are headquartered in Calgary.Company resultsPenn West Petroleum Ltd. reported record results for the quarter ended Mar. 31, as production volumes increased 7% from the same period in 2002. Net income was $13...

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