May 3, 2017 / 5:50 PM / a year ago

UPDATE 2-Mexico's Pemex posts first quarterly profit in five years

(Adds CFO quote, details on crude prices, export revenue and natural gas output)

By David Alire Garcia

MEXICO CITY, May 3 (Reuters) - Mexican state oil company Pemex on Wednesday reported a first quarter net profit of 87.9 billion pesos ($4.7 billion) on higher sales as crude prices rose sharply to make its first quarterly profit since 2012.

During the year earlier period, Pemex posted a loss of 62 billion pesos.

Revenue at the company officially known as Petroleos Mexicanos was up 55 percent to 349 billion pesos, a filing with the Mexican stock exchange said.

The average price of Mexico’s crude export mix in the first quarter was up about 70 percent to reach $44.11 per barrel, compared to just $25.87 per barrel during the same period last year.

As a result, export revenue during the quarter grew a whopping 86 percent despite the fact that crude export volumes dipped nearly 4 percent.

“Pemex continues taking firm steps in the right direction,” said Chief Financial Officer Juan Pablo Newman during a call with analysts after the results were released.

First-quarter crude production stood at 2.018 million barrels per day (bpd), down 9.5 percent from average output of 2.23 million bpd during the January-March period last year.

Meanwhile, natural gas output fell about 16 percent to 4.367 billion cubic feet per day.

Pemex hit peak crude production in 2004 with 3.4 million barrels per day (bpd), but since then the limping giant has seen output drop by more than 1.3 million bpd.

Long a major source of tax revenue for the government, Pemex now contributes less than a fifth of federal revenue, down from more than a third a few years ago.

The Mexican government continues to implement a sweeping energy reform finalized in 2014.

The reform ended the decades-long production monopoly enjoyed by Pemex, and led to the first-ever competitive oil auctions and joint venture partnerships. ($1 = 18.7275 on March 31) (Additional reporting by Adriana Barrera; editing by Grant McCool)

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