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With me today are John Hess, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer; Greg Hill, President, Worldwide Exploration and Production; John Rielly, Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer.I will now turn the call over to John Hess. John B. Hess Thank you, Jay, and welcome to our first quarter conference call. I will make a few brief comments, after which John Rielly will review our financial results. Net income for the first quarter of 2012 was $545 million. Compared to the year ago quarter, our earnings were negatively impacted by lower crude oil sales volumes and higher operating costs, which more than offset the impact of higher realized crude oil and natural gas selling prices. Exploration and Production earned $635 million. Crude oil and natural gas production averaged 397,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day, which was roughly flat with the year ago quarter. Higher production from the Bakken in North Dakota, the Pangkah Field in Indonesia and the Malaysia/Thailand Joint Development Area offset the impact of North Sea natural gas asset sales and natural field declines in Equatorial Guinea. In North Dakota, net production from the Bakken averaged 42,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day in the first quarter compared to 25,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day in the year ago quarter. Thus far in April, net production from the Bakken has averaged 47,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day. While we expect the monthly average to continue to increase throughout the rest of the year, we now expect the average for the full year may come in somewhat lower than our original estimate of 60,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day. As usual, we will update this estimate as well as our overall company production forecast on the July conference call. At the Llano Field in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico, the operator is currently performing a workover on the Llano #3 well, which was shut in for mechanical reasons in the first quarter of last year. We expect that production from this well will resume by the end of May.
At Valhall in Norway, field redevelopment is expected to be completed in the third quarter. Net production averaged 22,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day in the first quarter.In Libya, net production averaged 18,000 barrels per day in the first quarter and has averaged 21,000 barrels per day in April. With regard to exploration in Ghana, on March 27, we spud the Hickory North well in the Deepwater Tano Cape Three Points Block. This prospect is located 3.5 miles west of our Paradise discovery and the well will test reservoirs similar to those found at Paradise, as well as deeper targets. Following completion of Hickory North, we plan to drill a prospect called Sisili, a large structure located approximately 5.5 miles southeast of Paradise. As a result of recently signed farmout agreements, which are subject to final government approvals, Hess' working interest in the block will be reduced from 90% to 35%. Offshore Brunei, the Julong East well on Block CA-1, in which Hess has a 13.5% interest, encountered hydrocarbons and the operator is currently evaluating the results. The rig has now moved to the southeast to spud the Jagus East well, which will test an offset to the Gumusut Field, currently under development on the Malaysian side of the border. Later in the second quarter, we plan to resume exploration drilling in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico. Ness Deep, located in Green Canyon 507, is a Miocene prospect in which Hess has a 50% working interest. BHP has the remaining 50% and is the operator. Turning to Marketing and Refining, we reported net income of $11 million for the first quarter of 2012. The previously announced shutdown of the HOVENSA joint venture refinery was completed in the first quarter. As a result of the charge taken last quarter, there was no net income impact from HOVENSA's first quarter operations. Read the rest of this transcript for free on seekingalpha.com