First-quarter earnings more than tripled at
as gains in the company's exploration and production segment offset lower refining income.
Amerada Hess earned $695 million, or $6.62 a share, in the quarter, compared with $219 million, or $2.12 a share, last year. Among segments, income from exploration and production rose to $707 million from $263 million, while income from marketing and refining fell to $49 million from $63 million.
Included in the E&P results this quarter was a $186 million gain from asset sales. The item appeared to make Amerada Hess' bottom line not comparable to the Thomson First Call consensus estimate of $4.79 a share.
In the quarter, the company's oil and gas production was 361,000 barrel equivalents a day, compared with 358,000 a year ago. The company's average worldwide crude selling price was $53.30 a barrel, up $21.99 from a year ago. The average natural gas price was $7.73 per million cubic feet, up $1.58 from a year ago.
Marketing and refining income earnings fell as earnings from Hovensa, the company's refining joint venture in St. Croix, were hurt by the unscheduled shutdown and maintenance of the fluid catalytic cracking unit which lasted for approximately 20 days.
In early trading, Amerada Hess' stock rose $3.75, or 2.5%, to $153.72 apiece.