UPDATE 2.40pm Oil and gas producer Santos has increased its underlying first half profit and maintained its full year production guidance.
But its net profit of $262 million in the six months to June 30 was down 48 per cent from $504 million in the previous corresponding period.
Profit in the previous first half was boosted by a $246 million gain on the sale of 15 per cent of Santos' stake in the LNG project at Gladstone, Queensland.
Underlying profit for the six months to June 2012, which takes out the impact of the asset sale, was $283 million, up 20 per cent on $236 million in the previous corresponding period.
“First half production was the highest in three years which, combined with higher oil and gas prices, has produced a strong first half result,” chief executive David Knox said in a statement.
"The base business is performing well and we expect production in the second half of the year will be stronger than the first."
The company produced 25.4 million barrels of oil equivalent (mmboe) in the six months to June 30, up 11 per cent from the previous corresponding period.
Santos maintained its full year production target range of 51 to 55 mmboe.
Its sales in the six months to June were $1.49 billion, up 27 per cent from $1.17 billion in the previous first half.
The company declared a fully-franked interim dividend of 15 cents per share.
Its shares closed up 36 cents to $11.78.