ConocoPhillips 3Q profit up 89 percent on strong commodity prices

Wednesday, October 26th 2005, 9:24 am
By: News On 6

HOUSTON (AP) _ ConocoPhillips, the nation's third-largest integrated oil and gas company, said Wednesday its third-quarter profit surged 89 percent, reflecting strong prices for crude oil and natural gas.

Earnings for the quarter ended Sept. 30 rose to $3.8 billion, or $2.68 per share, topping the average Wall Street estimate of $2.57 per share, according to a Thomson Financial survey of analysts. A year ago, the company earned $2 billion, or $1.43 per share.

Quarterly revenue rose 43 percent to $49.66 billion from $34.74 billion

``During the quarter, our U.S. Gulf Coast operations were significantly impacted by Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Dennis,'' said Jim Mulva, chairman and chief executive. ``Despite these impacts, our overall operating performance for the quarter was good, and we continued to benefit from the strong commodity price environment.''

The Houston-based company produced 1.79 million barrels of oil equivalent, or BOE, per day, including 1.52 million BOE per day from the exploration and production segment and an estimated 270,000 BOE per day from its Lukoil Investment segment.

During the quarter, ConocoPhillips generated $6.1 billion in cash from operations, spent $3.6 billion in capital projects and investments and reduced debt by $516 million.

Corporate expenses from continuing operations rose 16 percent to $242 million from $209 million last year, reflecting $42 million in after-tax premiums incurred on the early retirement of debt, negative foreign exchange impacts and increased benefit-related charges, partially offset by lower net interest expense.

The company said it expects its Lake Charles, La., refinery, which has been shut down since September, to return to normal operations by next week.

ConocoPhillips forecast higher production in the fourth quarter and expects full-year daily BOE production to average about the same as 2004, excluding Lukoil.