Lower prices curb ConocoPhillips profit

Oil major ConocoPhillips posted a smaller profit for the fourth quarter of 2019 compared to the prior-year period due to impairments and lower realized prices and volumes.

Ryan Lance, ConocoPhillips CEO. Image by Bartolomej Tomic

ConocoPhillips on Tuesday reported fourth-quarter 2019 earnings of $0.7 billion compared with fourth-quarter 2018 earnings of $1.9 billion.

Excluding special items, fourth-quarter 2019 adjusted earnings were $0.8 billion compared with fourth-quarter 2018 adjusted earnings of $1.3 billion.

Special items for the current quarter included primarily a non-cash impairment related to a planned Lower 48 disposition, partially offset by an unrealized gain on Cenovus Energy equity.

Full-year 2019 earnings were $7.2 billion compared with full-year 2018 earnings of $6.3 billion. Excluding special items, full-year 2019 adjusted earnings were $4 billion compared with full-year 2018 adjusted earnings of $5.3 billion.

Ryan Lance, ConocoPhillips chairman and chief executive officer, said: “Strong 2019 performance capped off a highly successful three-year period in which we transformed our business model and significantly improved our underlying performance drivers across the company.”

Production excluding Libya for the fourth quarter of 2019 was 1,289 thousand barrels of oil equivalent per day (MBOED), a decrease of 24 MBOED from the same period a year ago.

Earnings decreased from fourth-quarter 2018 due to the absence of a gain on sale of partial interest in the United Kingdom Clair Field in 2018, as well as a non-cash impairment related to the pending sale of Niobrara, lower realized prices and reduced volumes as a result of dispositions. These decreases were partially offset by the change in Cenovus Energy equity market value.

Excluding special items, adjusted earnings were lower compared with fourth-quarter 2018 due to lower realized prices and volumes. The company’s total realized price was $47.01 per BOE, 11 percent lower than the $53.00 per BOE realized in the fourth quarter of 2018, reflecting lower marker prices.

The company’s 2020 operating plan capital guidance is $6.5 billion to $6.7 billion. The plan includes funding for ongoing development drilling programs, major projects, exploration and appraisal activities, as well as base maintenance.

The company’s 2020 production guidance is 1,230 MBOED to 1,270 MBOED, including the impact of a recent third-party pipeline outage on the Kebabangan Field in Malaysia. First-quarter 2020 production is expected to be 1,240 MBOED to 1,280 MBOED.

ConocoPhillips’ UK peer BP also recorded a smaller profit in 4Q 2019 amid weaker environment despite higher production during the period.


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