reported surging second-quarter earnings Wednesday, boosted by steady gains in its exploration, retail and refining divisions.
The oil supermajor earned $3.13 billion, or $2.21 a share, in the quarter, compared with $2.08 billion, or $1.48 a share, last year. Sales jumped 34% to $42.6 billion. Analysts had been forecasting earnings of $2.02 a share in the 2005 second quarter, according to Thomson First Call.
In its exploration and production unit, continuing-operations earnings were $1.93 billion in the second quarter, up from $1.79 billion in the first quarter and $1.35 billion a year ago. Higher realized prices and a falling exploration expense offset lower volume on a sequential basis.
In refining and marketing, earnings were $1.1 billion in the second quarter, up from $700 million from the first quarter and $818 million a year ago. The company captured higher refining spreads because of surging gasoline and distillate demand compared with that of the first quarter.
Conoco said oil and gas production should improve in the second half and leave overall 2005 production about 3% above 2004's, excluding its interest in the Russian firm Lukoil. The company forecast "a strong margin environment and continued high utilization rates in the near term."
The stock was recently up 83 cents to $62.25 on Instinet. It has risen 44% this year, trading at 8.3 times the 2005 earnings consensus as of Tuesday's close.