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Chevron, ConocoPhillips Warn of Lower 4Q Output

Chevron Corp.'s fourth quarter production and profits are unlikely to hit forecasts because of declining global output and maintenance issues, the oil major said Thursday. ConocoPhillips said bad weather in the Lower 48 states impacted its quarterly output.

In an interim report covering October and November results, the San Ramon, CA-based major said 4Q2013 profits would be nearly flat sequentially. Chevron in 3Q2013 posted net income of close to $5.0 billion ($2.57/share) (see Daily GPI, Nov. 4, 2013).

Wall Street consensus has Chevron earning on average $2.87/share in 4Q2013, excluding one-time items. In 4Q2012, the producer's net profits hit $7.2 billion ($3.70/share) (see Daily GPI, Feb. 4, 2013).

Chevron's output also is down from a year ago, management said. The operator said it produced about 2.56 million boe/d during October and November, which is almost 4% lower than the full-quarter average of 2.67 million boe/d in 4Q2012. Management had forecast 2013 output would average 2.65 million boe/d, a target that likely will be missed based on the interim report.

Average U.S. production in the partial quarter declined to 650,000 boe/d versus an average 655,000 boe/d in July, August and September. Average realized U.S. prices for crude and related products were $90.17/bbl in October and November, down from $97.18 in 2Q2013.

Chevron’s quarterly and full-year 2013 results are scheduled to be released on Jan. 31.

Chevron has earmarked almost $40 billion this year for capital and exploratory investments, with nearly all of the budget directed at upstream projects (see Daily GPI, Dec. 13, 2013). Close to $8 billion will be for U.S. projects alone. The budget is about $2 billion less than the operator spent in 2013, but unforeseen cost overruns raised the spending last year, particularly for the Big Foot project in the GOM, as well as at the Gorgon liquefied natural gas export facility in Australia.

Houston's ConocoPhillips, the largest independent in the country, said its fourth quarter production would be at a nine-year low, in part because of bad winter weather in the United States.

In its interim quarterly update, the operator said output fell to an average 1.48 million boe/d.

"The recent quarter's average production was negatively impacted by significant weather-related downtime in several operational areas, notably in the Lower 48 and the North Sea," management said. "There has been no long-term impact to production from this weather-related downtime and 2014 guidance for continuing operations remains unchanged at approximately 1.6 million boe/d..."

ConocoPhillips plans to issue its quarterly results on Jan. 30.

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