Corporate after-tax costs were $77.4 million in the first nine months of 2012 compared to costs of $40.7 million in the 2011 period. The higher net cost in the current year was mostly attributable to an unfavorable variance for transactions denominated in foreign currencies; these transactions led to after-tax costs of $3.5 million in the 2012 nine months compared to after-tax benefits of $32.2 million in 2011. The 2012 period also had higher administrative costs compared to 2011, primarily associated with more employee compensation expense in the later period. However, net interest expense was lower in the 2012 nine months, primarily due to higher amounts of interest costs capitalized to ongoing oil development projects.
Income from discontinued operations of $10.5 million in the nine months of 2012 was associated with exploration and production operations in the U.K. Income from discontinued operations totaled $139.2 million in 2011, and included income of $6.8 million for U.K. E&P operations, plus a profit of $132.4 million associated with two U.S. refineries sold near the end of the third quarter 2011. The 2011 refinery profit included a $16.9 million net gain on sale of the two plants and associated marketing assets and inventories.Steven A. Cossé, President and Chief Executive Officer, commented, “Our Company has recently made a number of key moves that are expected to enhance shareholder value when completed. As previously announced, the Board of Directors has set in place a plan to separate our U.S. Downstream business, which principally consists of over 1,150 retail service stations throughout the South and Midwest United States. We expect that this separation will occur in 2013. This action will allow the two key businesses – worldwide Upstream and U.S. Downstream – to gain sharper focus by fully concentrating on their own specific priorities, including strategic initiatives, allocation of resources and deployment of capital. Additionally, the Company will pay a special dividend of $2.50 per share on December 3 and has authorized a share buyback program of up to $1 billion. Furthermore, we are reviewing our portfolio of assets to rationalize their strategic fit within the organization; as part of this process, we have decided to sell our three oil and gas fields in the United Kingdom. This asset sale is expected to be completed by year-end.