ConocoPhillips (COP), the nation's third biggest oil company, reported a 54 percent jump in third-quarter profits as it benefited from high oil and natural gas prices.

ConocoPhillips said Wednesday it earned $2.01 billion, or $2.86 a share, for the July-September period, up from $1.31 billion, or $1.90 per share, a year ago.

Revenues for the quarter were $34.7 billion compared to $26.5 billion during the same period a year ago.

ConocoPhillips said the earnings increase was primarily due to higher crude oil and natural gas prices. It said reduced production was offset by sales volumes, which exceeded production by 19,000 barrels per day. Reduced benefits from tax law changes in the second quarter and reduced foreign exchange gains during the third quarter offset the increased earnings, the Houston-based company said.

It also said third quarter results reflected pretax exploration costs, totaling $205 million. Those costs included the write-off of the Zafar-Mashal well (search) in Azerbaijan and some leasehold impairments.

During the first nine months of 2004, ConocoPhillips earned $5.70 billion, or $8.16 per share, up from $3.71 billion, or $5.43 per share, during the first nine months of 2003. Revenue rose to $96.8 billion from $79.1 billion a year ago.

On the New York Stock Exchange (search), ConocoPhillips shares were up 46 cents at $86.39.