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XTO 4Q Output, Earnings Smash Records

XTO Energy Inc. shattered earnings records and reported huge increases across the board for natural gas, crude oil and natural gas liquids production for the fourth quarter, the company said Wednesday. Natural gas production rose 24% to 916 MMcf/d, oil production jumped 161% to 33,494 bbl/d, and natural gas liquids (NGL) output hit a record 8,626 bbl/d, 32% higher than 4Q2003.

Earnings soared to a record $173.9 million (67 cents/share), compared with 4Q2003's $61.9 million (27 cents). Excluding special items, income was $178.7 million (69 cents). Operating cash flow hit a record $401.5 million ($1.54/share), up 73% from 4Q2003.

"These strong results highlight another banner year," said CEO Bob R. Simpson. "The company's ongoing operational success during the year expanded our multi-year drilling inventory in each key basin. With a 21 to 23% production growth target, a new growth area in the Barnett Shale and substantial free cash flow, the outlook for 2005 is, once again, exciting."

Total revenues for fourth quarter 2004 were $600.7 million, an 81% increase over the $331.9 million reported a year earlier. Operating income was $310.8 million, a 173% increase over last year's $113.7 million.

The average gas price for the quarter was $5.31/Mcf, 28% higher than 4Q2003's average price of $4.16. Oil prices increased 42% to $41.14/bbl, while NGL prices averaged $31.04/bbl, a 49% increase from a year earlier.

Gas production for the year smashed previous records, hitting 835 MMcf/d, up 25% from 2003 daily production of 668 MMcf. Oil production for 2004 averaged another record, 22,696 bbl/d, a 75% increase from 2003 production of 12,943 bbl/d. NGL output for 2004 also was a record: 7,484 bbl/d, a 16% increase from 6,463 bbl/d in 2003.

The average gas price for 2004 was $5.04/Mcf, up 24% from the 2003 average price of $4.07. The average oil price for the year was $38.38/bbl, a 34% increase, and NGL prices averaged $26.44/bbl, or 32% higher than the 2003 average of $19.99.

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