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Higher Commodity Prices Help Push Occidental's 2003 Net Income Up 54%

Higher Commodity Prices Help Push Occidental's 2003 Net Income Up 54%

Occidental Petroleum CEO Ray Irani said record production and high gas and oil prices led to the company's second best year ever in 2003. Occidental reported a 54% increase in net income to $1.5 billion and a 51% increase in earning per share to $3.93 for the year. Fourth quarter net income rose 19% to $382 million and earning per share rose 16% to 97 cents.

"Our core earnings for the year of $1.635 billion were the highest in the company's history," Irani said. "We ended the year with our debt to capitalization ratio at 37%, the lowest level in more than two decades."

However, the company's natural gas production fell both for the year and the quarter. Fourth quarter domestic gas production dropped 2.4% to 525 MMcf/d. For the year, domestic gas production was down 5.7% to 532 MMcf/d. Domestic crude oil and liquids production rose 13.4% for the quarter to 263,000 bbl/d and 10.3% for the year to 256,000 bbl/d.

Oil and gas segment earnings were much higher in the fourth quarter, $640 million compared with $490 million for the fourth quarter 2002, because of higher worldwide crude oil and gas prices, increased oil sales, lower exploration expenses and a $38 million refund of property taxes, partially offset by higher production costs, the company said. The increased crude oil production results largely from higher Ecuador and Horn Mountain production.

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