31 October 2013, News Wires – US major ConocoPhillips has ramped up net profit by 38% in the third quarter despite flat production, with a pair of asset sales and higher prices delivering increased earnings.
The Houston-based explorer earned $2.5 billion net between 1 June and 30 September, compared to $1.8 billion during the same period in 2012.
During the quarter the explorer completed the $720 million sale of the Clyden oil sands leasehold in Canada and the $600 million sale of the Phoenix Park midstream asset in Trinidad and Tobago.
When these dispositions are excluded, ConocoPhillips’ net profit rose to $1.8 billion from $1.7 billion in the third quarter of 2012.
While output was flat for the quarter, chief executive Ryan Lance said the company had lined up new projects such as Canada’s Christina Lake Phase E and Norway’s Ekofisk South that would ultimately deliver a 3% to 5% production rise.
“We successfully completed our major turnaround activity and have brought two major projects on line, with another three major projects expected to start production in the coming months,” he said.
Production from continuing operations was unchanged from a year ago at 1.47 million barrels of oil equivalent, as new output was offset by field decline and the ongoing closure at Libya’s El Sider terminal.
Boosted average realised prices of $69.68 per boe versus $65.62 a year ago sent earnings upward despite the flat production, aided by a greater proportion of production in liquids and in higher-margin output areas.
On a nine-month basis, profits from continuing operations rose to $5.3 billion from $5 billion in the first nine months of 2012 with near-level production in both periods.
The explorer has chopped 50,000 boe per day off its expected output for the fourth quarter because of Libya, but it still expects annual output to range between 1.5 and 1.51 million boe per day.
The company’s next quarterly results will be dominated by its $8.4 billion stake sale at Kazakh giant Kashagan, which has now completed, ConocoPhillips announced separately on Thursday.