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Oil Price Weakness Can Clog Carrizo's Growth

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Houston-based Carrizo Oil and Gas (CRZO - Get Report) is a small energy company with a market cap of $1.8 billion in exploration and production of mainly unconventional oil and gas. The company owns acreage in Eagle Ford Shale, the Niobrara Formation, the Marcellus Shale and the Utica Shale. The business has reported impressive growth over the last couple of years due to an increase in oil production, a trend also evident in its previous quarterly results released a week ago.

The company is now eying considerable growth in production volumes in 2014. However, the recent weakness in oil prices can have an adverse impact on Carrizo's ambitions. Investors should look into the oil prices before betting on Carrizo's rally.

During the third quarter, Carrizo's total production rose to record levels of 30,000 barrels of oil equivalents per day, showing a 17% increase from the same quarter last year. This was largely due to a 41% increase in oil production from 2012 to record level of more than 12,200 barrels per day. The company's total oil and gas revenues rose 50% from last year to $144.3 million due to a 53% increase in oil revenues to $117.8 million. As a result, the business ended the quarter with net income of $5.7 million, a significant improvement from a loss of $1.9 million in the comparable quarter last year. In adjusted terms, this translated into a 60% increase in earnings to 72 cents per share, 2 cents above market's expectations.

Some of the growth of crude oil revenues can also be attributed to a 4% increase in average realized prices (including the impact of derivatives) from the same quarter last year. Although Carrizo missed the revenue estimates of $146.5 million, overall this was a strong performance.

Carrizo holds significant acreage in four of America's leading energy plays, particularly the Eagle Ford where it now owns 58,000 net acres. Carrizo has been working on improving its asset portfolio by selling its non-core acreage, such as the Barnett Shale assets, and increasing its focus on its premier oil assets, such as the Eagle Ford. In the previous quarter, Carrizo sold its Barnett assets and acquired additional acreage at Eagle Ford and the liquids rich area of Utica. Carrizo now owns 21,700 net acres at Utica which represents around 120 potential drilling locations.

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