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ConocoPhillips Profits Edge Higher

Strengh in oil refining offsets lower earnings from exploration and production.
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(COP) - Get ConocoPhillips Report

eked out a 7.7% rise in first-quarter net income as a big jump in earnings at its oil refining business offset lower profits for exploration and production.

The oil and gas giant's net income for the quarter rose to $3.55 billion from $3.29 billion a year earlier. Earnings per share slipped to $2.12 from $2.34 amid the company's buyback of $1 billion in stock during the quarter. The results for the latest period included a 29-cent-a-share benefit tied to asset dispositions.

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Analysts polled by Thomson Financial expected earnings of $1.90 a share. Wall Street estimates typically exclude one-time items.

Revenue fell to $41.3 billion from $46.9 billion amid lower sales volumes in exploration and production and declining crude prices.

Conoco's exploration and production business reported earnings of $2.33 billion, down from $2.55 billion a year earlier, due to the lower commodity prices, higher taxes and increased operating costs.

The company's refining and marketing division posted a big jump in net income to $1.14 billion from $390 million a year earlier, boosted by higher margins, a reduction in previously reported impairments and lower turnaround costs.