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Financial Briefs

Financial Briefs

Producers are in for a very profitable year if recent third quarter earnings reports are any indication. Occidental Petroleum reported a three-fold increase in third quarter earnings compared to the same period last year, going from $126 million ($0.35 per share) in 3Q99 to $402 million ($1.09 per share) in 3Q2000. The successful performance is mainly the result of higher commodity prices. Oxy's earnings before special items for the third quarter were $370 million ($1.00 per share) as opposed to last year for the same time period when the company posted $125 million ($.35 a share). Oxy's oil and gas division earned $690 million before special items, compared to $279 million in 3Q99. Although commodity costs played a large part in the increase, the company also cited an increase in production volumes due to its acquisition of Altura Energy from Shell Exploration & Production Co. and BP during the second quarter of 2000. Its domestic gas production levels rose from 673 MMcf/d during 3Q99 to 687MMcf/d for 3Q2000, while domestic liquids (mostly crude) rose from 71,000 b/d to 210,000 b/d.

Dominion Resources expects gas price strength to continue through next year, but it is making a conservative forecast for realized prices of about $3.20/Mcf, CEO Thos. E. Capps said during a conference call on the company's third quarter earnings. The company's production remains about 50% hedged through the second quarter of next year. Financial results from Consolidated Natural Gas' (CNG) production and gas pipelines, which were added in January, partially offset the weather-related trouble encountered by the company's electric utility division during the quarter. The company reported a smaller than expected decline in earnings per share during the third quarter, posting $1.13 compared to $1.32/share in 3Q99. Results per share were pulled down as average shares outstanding surged to 239.5 million from 191.4 million because of the merger. Operating earnings excluding special items actually rose to $270 million from $253 million. Revenues soared to $2.4 billion compared to $1.7 billion last year during the same quarter. Analysts surveyed by First Call/Thomson Financial expected the company to earn $1.10 per share in the latest quarter and $3.30 in the full year. Capps said the company is "solidly positioned to meet or exceed our full-year 2000 earnings target of $3.30 per share and our 2001 target of $3.80 per share." In an unrelated announcement, Dominion said it launched a new Internet site for energy professionals that offers a variety of energy news, information and services. The new site, www.domenergypro.com, offers those involved in buying, selling or trading energy a single source for energy news and information. It also offers information on Dominion's energy-analysis, management and monitoring services and its retail energy sales and service options.

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