February 27, 2017 / 6:37 PM / 6 months ago

UPDATE 1-Mexico's Pemex sharply reduces losses as oil prices rise

(Adds CFO quote and details on prices, production, revenue)

By David Alire Garcia

MEXICO CITY, Feb 27 (Reuters) - Mexican state-owned oil company Pemex on Monday reported a much smaller fourth-quarter loss, due in large part to higher crude prices.

The loss narrowed to $1.58 billion (32.6 billion pesos) from $9.8 billion a year earlier.

"Pemex's finances are today stable with positive trends; however, we believe there is certainly room for improvement," Chief Financial Officer Juan Pablo Newman said on a conference call with analysts.

Revenue at the company officially known as Petroleos Mexicanos rose more than 20 percent to $15.67 billion, according to a filing to the Mexican stock exchange.

The price of Mexico's crude oil export mix jumped by 22 percent during the quarter to average nearly $41 per barrel.

Still, Pemex has not posted a quarterly profit since 2012.

Long used as a cash cow for the nation's government, Pemex now contributes less than a fifth of federal revenue, down from more than a third a few years ago.

The Mexican government is implementing an energy industry revamp finalized in 2014. It ended the decades-long production monopoly enjoyed by Pemex, which led to the first-ever competitive oil auctions and joint venture partnerships.

Crude production in 2016 fell 5 percent to 2.154 million barrels per day, while fourth-quarter output dropped 9 percent to an average 2.07 million bpd from a year earlier.

Pemex's crude production has steadily declined from a peak of 3.4 million bpd in 2004.

The government has said it expects crude output to average 1.94 million bpd this year and between 1.9 million to 2.0 million bpd in 2018.

Natural gas production was down nearly 10 percent in 2016 to average nearly 5.8 million cubic feet per day.

Crude oil processing was down about 12 percent in 2016 to average 933,000 bpd, while it dipped to just 784,000 bpd during the fourth quarter.

Meanwhile, Pemex exported 1.194 million bpd last year, up nearly 2 percent from 2015, while shipments for the quarter were up nearly 7 percent. ($1 = 20.64 pesos at the end of December) (Reporting by David Alire Garcia; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)

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