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CNOOC's first-half profit more than triples

* H1 2021 net profit at 33.33 bln yuan vs 10.38 bln H1 2020

* Oil and gas output hits record high in H1

* H1 capex at 36 bln yuan

BEIJING/SINGAPORE, Aug 19 (Reuters) - China’s top offshore oil and gas driller CNOOC Ltd said on Thursday its first-half net profit more than tripled from a low base last year, supported by rebounding oil prices and recovering energy demand after the pandemic.

CNOOC Ltd, a listed branch of China National Offshore Oil Crop, said net profit reached 33.33 billion yuan ($5.13 billion), up 221% from a year ago and from 25.48 billion yuan in 2019. It was the highest profit since the first half of 2014.

Revenue in the first half of 2021 jumped 48% from a year earlier to 110.23 billion yuan, following a 52% rise in oil and gas sales.

Benchmark WTI prices, which plunged to below zero at one point in April last year, hovered near $70 a barrel in the second quarter of 2021.

CNOOC, one of the industry’s lowest-cost explorers and producers, said its all-in production cost was $28.98 per barrel, up from $26.34 in 2020, due to “rising commodity prices and other factors”.

Oil and gas production hit a fresh record high of 278.1 million barrels of oil equivalent (boe), up 7.9% year on year, boosted by several new projects in Bohai Bay and the South China Sea.

CNOOC also started operations at Lingshui 17-2, an ultra-deep field in the South China Sea with proven reserves of 100 billion cubic meters, in June.

The company plans capital spending in 2021 of 90-100 billion yuan, the highest level since 2014, and has set a target to churn out 528 million boe of oil and gas this year.

Its capital expenditure in the first half was 36 billion yuan.

The company announced a dividend of HK$0.30 per share. ($1 = 6.4954 Chinese yuan renminbi)

Reporting by Muyu Xu and Chen Aizhu; Editing by Susan Fenton

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