Permian Basin-focused shale producer Diamondback Energy Inc. topped market expectations for quarterly profit on May 3 as COVID-19 vaccine rollouts and easing travel restrictions boosted oil prices.

A 27% surge in crude prices this year has lifted earnings of U.S. oil firms after the pandemic led to one of the worst downturns in the sector’s history.

Midland, Texas-based Diamondback’s average price for its oil and gas, excluding hedges, rose 54.5% sequentially in the first quarter to $42.36 per boe.

The company posted quarterly production of 307,422 boe/d, 2.8% higher than the previous quarter.

Diamondback also said on May 3 it would sell its Williston Basin assets in North Dakota and Montana for about $745 million and some Southern Midland Basin acreage for $87 million without disclosing the buyer.

The company had previously signaled that it could sell the Williston operations, which it had acquired in its $2.2 billion acquisition of Denver-based rival QEP Resources in March.


Diamondback Energy Sells Bakken Asset to Oasis in $745 Million Cash Deal

Oasis Petroleum Inc. said in a separate statement it would buy the Williston assets from Diamondback.

The asset sales promoted Diamondback to trim its full-year production forecast to between 350,000 boe/d and 360,000 boe/d, from 360,000 boe/d to 370,000 boe/d previously.

Adjusted net income attributable to the company came in at $379 million, or $2.30 per share, for the three months ended March 31, compared with $130 million, or 82 cents per share, in the fourth quarter.

Analysts were expecting a figure of $1.80 per share, according to Refinitiv IBES data.