ConocoPhillips posted a second-quarter profit on Aug. 3 that nearly doubled from the first and topped analysts’ estimates, helped by higher oil and gas prices and production.

A recovery in fuel demand from a pandemic-forced slump has boosted globally-traded crude prices to over $70, raising earnings of oil and gas producers.

In a departure from previous cycles, however, producers have chosen to boost shareholder payout and slash debt rather than spend on production at the higher prices.

ConocoPhillips raised its share buyback plans in June by $1 billion and increased the expected savings from its $10 billion acquisition of Permian basin producer Concho for a second time.

The company's production, excluding Libya, rose 4% to 1.55 million barrel of oil equivalent per day (MMboe/d) in the second quarter from the first.

Conocophillips said prices for its oil and gas rose 10.3% to average $50.03 per boe in the three months to June 30.

It expects current-quarter production to be between 1.48 MMboe/d and 1.52 MMboe/d, including seasonal maintenance plans in Alaska and the Asia Pacific region.

The company had cut its 2021 capex by $200 million from its prior forecast of $5.5 billion in June, and estimates adjusted operating costs to be $100 million lower at $6.1 billion

Adjusted earnings rose to $1.72 billion, or $1.27 per share, in the second quarter, from $902 million, or 69 cents per share, in the first.

Analysts had on average estimated a profit of $1.10 per share, according to Refinitiv IBES estimates.