Noble Energy Inc.'s (NYSE: NBL) quarterly profit breezed past analysts' estimates as U.S. sales volumes surged and the company kept a tight leash on expenses.

A rise in global crude prices, led by OPEC cuts, has prompted oil and gas companies to ramp up production. U.S. crude prices averaged $55.30 per barrel in the last quarter of 2017, up 12.2% from a year earlier.

Noble's total operating expenses nearly halved to $740 million in the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, as exploration costs fell by 90%.


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Total sales volumes from U.S. onshore rose 40.5% to 104,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day, and prices realized per barrel rose by $7.14.

Net income attributable was $494 million, or $1.01 per share, compared with a loss of $252 million, or 59 cents per share, a year earlier.

On an adjusted basis, Noble earned 32 cents per share. Analysts on average had expected 4 cents profit, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

The Houston-based company's total revenue rose 19% to $1.2 billion.

The company's shares were up 2.7% at $26.98 in premarket trading.