U.S. oil and gas producer Pioneer Natural Resources Co. on May 4 reported a 124% rise in first-quarter adjusted profit from the previous three months as COVID-19 vaccine rollouts and easing travel restrictions lifted crude prices.

U.S. oil and gas companies have delivered strong first-quarter profits on a rebound in oil prices and deep cost cuts implemented last year at the peak of a downturn in demand due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Gas producers have benefited from a deep freeze in Texas that lifted demand for the fuel used in heating and power generation.

Pioneer, which operates in the Permian Basin in West Texas, said that its total output was 474,000 boe/d in the first quarter, compared with 364,000 boe/d in the fourth quarter.

Pioneer Natural Resources Permian Basin Asset Map
(Source: Pioneer Natural Resources Co. Investor Presentation)

The company’s total average realized price in the first quarter was $42.75 per bpe, much higher than the $30.22 boe it earned in the last three months of 2020.

Pioneer said adjusted net income rose to $396 million, or $1.77 per share, from $177 million, or $1.07 per share, in the prior quarter. 

Rival Devon Energy Corp. said in a separate statement its first-quarter adjusted profit was 45 cents per share, compared with expectations of 33 cents per share.