Abu Dhabi: Dana Gas, the Middle East’s largest regional private sector natural gas company, swung from a loss in the third quarter of 2009, to a profit in the same period this year on strong production growth.

Third-quarter revenue from the sale of hydrocarbons increased by 13 per cent to Dh407 million, with gross profit rising 25 per cent to Dh179 million, compared to the same three-month period last year.

The company attributed this to a 24 per cent increase in production from its Egyptian operations, where 12 fields are now producing gas, and in the Kurdistan region of Iraq, where production from the Khor Mor field continues to increase.

The company made a net profit of Dh33 million in the third quarter, compared to a loss of Dh79 million in the third quarter of 2009, which was due to higher write-offs of unsuccessful exploration wells amounting to Dh110 million.

The profit for the third quarter excludes an unrealised gain of Dh249 million from the company’s investment in Hungarian oil and gas company MOL, Dana’s partner in Kurdistan, which was booked directly to equity, the company said.

Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, amortisation and exploration (EBITDAX) for the third quarter of this year stand at Dh260 million, a 27 per cent increase compared the same period in 2009.

“Dana Gas’ Egypt operations continue to deliver strong results, producing 3.9 million barrels of oil equivalent (boe) during the third quarter of 2010, an increase of 15 per cent compared to the same period last year. This included production from the Sharabas and Faraskur fields, which were brought on stream in August 2010 via the El Wastani gas plant continuing the company’s well established ability to bring its gas discoveries into production rapidly and cost effectively,” Dana Gas said in a statement to the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange.