Price, production increases boost first-quarter earnings

Oil and gas companies in the US and Canada and the companies that sell them services and supplies posted strong revenue and earnings gains in the first quarter of 2006.Oil and gas price strength, coupled with increased production volumes for many companies, yielded financial results much stronger than those of the first quarter of last year.Prices, marginsDuring the 2006 first quarter, the average US wellhead price of crude was $56.25/bbl, up 30% from a year earlier. Meanwhile, the US wellhead price of gas gained 31% year-on-year to average $7.49/Mcf in the recent quarter.Cash refining margins were mixed when compared to the first 3 months of 2005, but they still contributed to earnings g...

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