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National Fuel Gas Posts Plunging Earnings

Lower average commodity prices hurt the utility company in the first quarter.

Once these most recent quarterly results are finalized, they will be run through Ratings' model and our ratings will be adjusted accordingly. To keep up to date on all of our ratings, visit Ratings Screener.

On April 30, 2009,

National Fuel Gas

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reported that its net income plunged 22.7% in Q2 FY09 to $73.48 million from $95.00 million, hurt by lower average commodity prices realized in the Exploration and Production segment. On a per share basis, earnings dropped 17.1% to $0.92 per share from $1.11 per share. Excluding one-time items, operating earnings were $73.48 million or $0.92 per share, which beat the consensus estimate of $0.90 per share.

Total operating revenue declined 9.2% to $804.65 million from $885.85 million. Exploration and Production operating revenues plunged 24.1% to $87.08 million, due to lower production. The Utility and Energy Marketing segment's operating revenue slipped 4.0% and 14.5% to $507.86 million and $163.55 million, respectively. All other segments revenues declined 40.7% to $13.12 million from $22.14 million a year ago. Moreover, Pipeline and Storage segment's total operating revenue rose 3.8% to $61.00 million, helped by 9.4% increase in throughput to 134,728 millions of cubic feet (MMcf).

Total production declined 2.4% to 10,107 million cubic feet of natural gas equivalent (MMcfe). Total gas production decreased 11.6% to 5,151 million cubic feet (MMcf), whereas total oil production improved 9.4% to 826.00 thousands of barrels (MBbl). The weighted average oil price received by Seneca (after hedging) dropped $22.15 per barrel (Bbl) to $56.39 per Bbl. Weighted average natural gas price received by Seneca (after hedging) reduced $1.68 per thousand cubic feet (Mcf) to $7.53 per Mcf in Q2 FY08.

Recently, the company paid a regular quarterly dividend of $0.325 per share.

Looking forward to FY09, the company lowered its EPS guidance to a range of $0.95 to $1.10 per share, from its prior range of $1.10 to $1.30 per share. The company reaffirmed its total production to range between 38.00 billion cubic feet of natural gas equivalent (Bcfe) and 44.00 Bcfe.