Exploration & Production

Conoco net at $3.1bn


US oil and gas company ConocoPhillips’ quarterly profit exceeded analysts’ estimates, as higher shale production and a gain from asset sales offset the impact from lower crude prices and higher exploration costs.

Shares rose 2.9 per cent in morning trading to $57.26.

The largest US independent crude producer’s results kicked off a quarter in which shale producers were expected to post sharp earnings declines from a year earlier.

The oil and gas producer has been divesting assets to focus on its US shale assets and earlier this month, agreed to sell its northern Australian business to partner Santos for $1.39 billion. It has used the asset sales to boost payouts to shareholders.

Conoco reported total production, excluding Libya, rose by 98,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boe/d) to 1.322 million boe/d, with output from US shale basins including Eagle Ford, Bakken and the Permian up 21 per cent in the quarter.

Net earnings rose to $3.1 billion, or $2.74 per share, in the third quarter ended Sept. 30, from $1.9 billion, or $1.59 per share, a year earlier.

The profit was lifted by a $2.68 billion sale of its UK assets to North Sea oil producer Chrysaor that added about $1.57 to per share results.

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