ConocoPhillips loses $1 billion in third quarter

ConocoPhillips, the nation’s largest independent oil producer, is still losing money, but less than it did last year.

Conoco, based in Houston, reported on Thursday a third-quarter net loss of $1 billion, or 84 cents per share, $100 million or 9 percent less than it lost over the same period last year.

The company said it produced 1.6 million barrels of oil equivalent per day, an increase of 3,000 barrels a day over the third quarter last year. It attributed the increase to growth in major projects, improved well performance and less downtime while drilling.

But Conoco only made $29.78 per barrel of oil equivalent in the quarter, $3 or 9 percent less than it made in the third quarter last year, a reflection of the crash in oil and natural gas prices.

Conoco lost $3.6 billion or $2.88 per share over the first nine months of 2016, $2.6 billion or 260 percent more than it lost over the same period last year.

Work is underway on a ConocoPhillips project at the Ekofisk field in the North Sea. (photo: ConocoPhillips)
Work on a ConocoPhillips project at the Ekofisk field in the North Sea. (photo: ConocoPhillips)

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Still, Ryan Lance, chairman and chief executive, praised the company’s cost-cutting, and said operating cash flow covered capital expenses in the quarter. “We’re hitting our key operational targets across the business and achieving important milestones,” Lance said in a statement.

Conoco cut capital expenses by $300 million to $5.2 billion and shifted dollars from major projects to horizontal hydraulic fracturing projects in the contiguous U.S., it said. It sold exploration blocks off the coast of Senegal and Indonesia, repaid $1.25 billion of maturing debt and trimmed production and operating expenses by 17 percent year over year, adjusting expected operations costs down $200 million to $6.6 billion.

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