* Q3 EPS $4.73, revenue $10.77 billion
* Q3 oper EPS $1.92 beats estimates of $1.76
* Natural gas production up 8 pct in Q3 (Recasts; adds details, closing share price. In U.S. dollars)
Oct 23 (Reuters) - Third-quarter profit for EnCana Corp (ECA.TO) nearly quadrupled, Canada’s biggest oil and gas explorer said on Thursday, in a period where oil prices climbed to records before wilting in the financial crisis.
The company, which last week canceled plans to split into oil sands and natural gas arms as its share price plunged to three-year lows, earned $3.55 billion, or $4.73 a share, up more than 280 percent from $934 million, or $1.24 a share in the year-prior quarter.
EnCana said net income for the quarter rose primarily due to unrealized mark-to-market gains of $2 billion in 2008, compared with losses of $69 million in 2007.
Operating earnings, which exclude most one-time gains and charges, rose nearly 40 percent to $1.44 billion, or $1.92 a share from $1.03 billion, or $1.37 a share, in the third-quarter of 2007.
The operating results beat analysts’ average per-share profit forecast of $1.76 a share, according to a Reuters Estimates.
EnCana’s cash flow, a key measure of its ability to pay for new projects and drilling, rose about 27 percent to $2.80 billion, or $3.74 per share, from $2.22 billion, or $2.93 per share, a year earlier.
Revenue nearly doubled to $10.77 billion.
The company produced 3.9 billion cubic feet of gas and 133,600 barrels of oil per day. That up 8 percent from output of 3.6 billion cubic feet of gas and down nearly 2 percent from 136,000 barrels of oil per day a year earlier.
The oil total includes output from the company’s oil sands and U.S. refining joint venture with ConocoPhillips (COP.N).
Shares of the Calgary, Alberta-based company closed at $50.74 Wednesday on the Toronto Stock Exchange. (Reporting by Shradhha Sharma in Bangalore; Editing by Anil D‘Silva;)