China National Offshore Oil Corp, the parent firm of listed CNOOC, posted a 24 per cent rise in profit last year to 48.1 billion yuan on the back of higher oil prices. The nation's dominant offshore oil and gas producer saw turnover grow 36 per cent to 120.8 billion yuan, it said in a statement. It did not specify whether the profit was before or after tax. 'Among state companies under the central government, [China National Offshore] ranks fourth by total profit, 14th by sales and 11th by assets,' it said. In addition to a controlling stake in CNOOC, the company has a joint-venture petrochemical plant with Royal Dutch/Shell in Shenzhen, a wholly owned refinery being built in that city, stakes in several liquefied natural gas import projects and clean energy projects. CNOOC, its largest profit contributor, on Wednesday said it expected to report total output of 165 million to 168 million barrels of oil equivalent (boe), missing a target of 168 million to 170 million boe set early last year. The target was revised down from the 185 million to 195 million boe set in early 2004 after the firm faced geological and production difficulties in two oilfields in 2005. However, sharply higher oil prices meant CNOOC's profit had risen 21.17 per cent to 30.68 billion yuan last year, according to the consensus estimate of 24 brokerages polled by Thomson First Call. The firm has not disclosed its realised oil selling price for last year. Rival PetroChina reported a 23.55 per cent jump in its price, compared with a 20.1 per cent rise in the Brent crude and a 17.3 per cent leap in the West Texas Intermediate. CNOOC on Wednesday also revised down its output target for this year to 162 million to 170 million boe, from 205 million to 225 million boe set in 2004 and 170 million to 175 million boe indicated in 2005. But it said output should grow to at least 190 million boe next year. Brokerages including Goldman Sachs, Credit Suisse and Merrill Lynch have cut their output and profit estimates for the company. Separately, its sister firm China Oilfield Services Ltd has bought Russian-based STU, a unit of British-Russian owned oil and gas producer TNK-BP, China National Offshore said. A COSL spokeswoman said the deal was pending approval by the Russian and Chinese governments.