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July 31 (Reuters) - Occidental Petroleum Corp, the fourth-largest U.S. oil and gas company, reported a better-than-expected profit for the third straight quarter, helped by higher prices.
The company said its crude oil prices rose by 3 percent to $100.38 per barrel in the second quarter, while U.S. natural gas prices rose by 12 percent to $4.28 per million cubic feet.
The U.S. company, like rivals Hess Corp and Anadarko Petroleum Corp, is selling overseas assets and investing in the most-profitable shale fields in North America.
The company said in February that it would spin-off its California unit and move its headquarters to Houston, Texas as it focuses on production from the Permian Basin in Texas and New Mexico.
Occidental's net income rose to $1.43 billion, or $1.82 per share, from $1.32 billion, or $1.64 per share, a year earlier.
Occidental reported a core profit of $1.79 per share, above the average analyst estimate of $1.75, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Net sales rose 5.2 percent to $6.28 billion, above analysts' average estimate of $6.06 billion.
The company's shares, which have risen more than 11 percent in the last 12 months, closed at $98.11 on the New York Stock Exchange on Wednesday. (Reporting by Anannya Pramanick in Bangalore; Editing by Maju Samuel)