ConocoPhillips’ quarterly, annual profits surge, hit analyst targets

ConocoPhillips’ fourth quarter earnings were up more than 46 percent to $1.9 billion and full year profits were up 100 percent to $8.8 billion, excluding asset sales and other items.

The Houston-based integrated oil and gas giant saw quarterly earnings per share of $1.32, up from the $1.20 per share a year ago and in line with the average analyst expectations of $1.32 per share, according to Thomson Reuters. Quarterly revenue was $53.2 billion, up from $43.7 billion a year ago.

Oil and gas output in the quarter was 1.73 million barrels of oil equivalent (BOE) per day, down from 1.83 million BOE per day in the same period in 2009.

Jim Mulva, chairman and chief executive officer said the company was pleased with the results.

“We improved our returns, reduced debt, and increased shareholder distributions,” Mulva said in a statement. “In addition to meeting our financial objectives, we improved our portfolio and exceeded our goal to replace our 2010 production with new organic reserves.  Our upstream and downstream businesses delivered against their operating targets, and our midstream and chemicals joint ventures both had a successful year.”

ConocoPhillips is in the process of shedding assets to improve its mix of businesses in response to Wall Street’s view the firm is lagging the rest of the super majors. In 2010 the company generated $15.4 billion from asset sales — $8.3 billion from selling shares in LUKOIL and $7.1 billion from asset sales.

The company’s $10.7 billion capital budget directed 86 percent of the funds toward E&P and $3.9 billion repurchasing 65 million of its own shares.

The company hosts a conference call at 10 a.m. central where it will discuss its financial in detail with analysts.