Conoco first quarter earnings down 84%

Thursday, April 25th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

HOUSTON (AP) _ Conoco Inc. reported Thursday its earnings for the first quarter fell 84 percent from a year ago because of lower natural gas and crude oil prices and tight refining margins.

Conoco earned $104 million, or 16 cents per share, down from a record first quarter in 2001 when the Houston-based oil company earned $653 million, or $1.03 per share.

The company earned 9 cents a share before special items, which totaled $49 million. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial/First Call were expecting earnings of 20 cents per share.

Conoco's report mirrored that of other companies in the sector that had similarly tough quarters. Bartlesville, Okla.,-based Phillips Petroleum Co., which is merging with Conoco, on Thursday reported a $25 million loss on the quarter.

``This was the most difficult quarter we've experienced in four years,'' said Archie Dunham, Conoco's chairman and chief executive officer.

Revenue for the January-March period was $8 billion, down 25 percent from $10.7 billion in the first quarter of 2001.