By Deepa Babington 1 hour, 31 minutes ago
NEW YORK (Reuters) - ConocoPhillips (NYSE:COP - news), the No. 3 U.S. oil company, on Wednesday reported quarterly profit surged 89 percent, surpassing Wall Street forecasts, driven by record oil prices and sharply higher refining margins.
ConocoPhillips, like other major oil companies, has reaped a windfall from soaring crude oil prices -- which touched a record $70 a barrel in the quarter -- and better refining margins, as powerful hurricanes blew through the Gulf of Mexico, severely disrupting energy operations.
The Houston company's net profit in the third quarter rose to $3.8 billion, or $2.68 a share, compared with $2.01 billion, or $1.43 a share, a year earlier.
Shares of ConocoPhillips were up $2.56, or 4.1 percent, at $65 on the
New York Stock Exchange.
"A decent set of numbers from ConocoPhillips, but without the U.S. refining blowout which the market may have by now been anticipating," Credit Suisse First Boston analysts said in a research note.
Profit at its refining and marketing operations rose to $1.39 billion from $708 million a year earlier, but were hit by outages at three Gulf Coast refineries.
Marketing earnings also fell sharply, largely because domestic wholesale and retail prices did not increase as rapidly as gasoline and diesel spot prices.
That was above the average profit forecast of $2.46 a share, according to analysts polled by Reuters Estimates. Total revenue also jumped to $49.7 billion in the quarter from $34.7 billion a year earlier.
Oil and gas production averaged 1.79 million barrels of oil equivalent per day in the quarter, including the impact of its investment in Russian oil company LUKOIL.
Excluding LUKOIL, production rose to 1.52 million barrels a day, boosted by fewer maintenance-related disruptions in Alaska and Norway, and greater output from Australia, Venezuela and Indonesia.
The company said it expects production in the fourth quarter to increase and daily production for the year to average about the same as last year, excluding LUKOIL.
The company said its Lake Charles refinery in Louisiana was expected to return to normal operations by next week, while its Alliance refinery will begin partial operation in December and return to full operation early next year.
ConocoPhillips' shares have risen more than 21 percent in the third quarter, outperforming the broader Standard & Poor's integrated oil index, which rose 13.6 percent in the same period.