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Anadarko Petroleum

(APC) - Get Anadarko Petroleum Corporation Report

became the latest large U.S. company to confess to an accounting mistake, in this case related to the value of energy properties it acquired from

Union Pacific Resources

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in July 2000.

The Houston energy company said it wrote down the properties by $1.08 billion, or $4.33 a share, after discovering that incorrect figures had been used to calculate their value. The writedown brings the company's total writedowns in the third quarter to $1.57 billion, or $6.26 a share, widening its loss in the period to $1.35 billion, or $5.41 a share, from a previously reported $270 million, or $1.08 a share.

Because the writedown will reduce the company's depreciation, depletion and amortization, it will actually increase earnings in coming quarters, the company said. Fourth-quarter earnings will be higher, and the company said earnings could be about $100 million a year higher for the next few years.

The error was apparently missed by Anadarko's outside auditors, KPMG, although a company financial official described the issue as "an Anadarko error" and said "there is no adequate explanation about why it wasn't caught earlier."