* Sees 2nd-qtr production of 1.495 mln-1.535 mln boepd
* 1st-qtr output inches up 2 pct to 1.584 million boepd
* Adjusted loss of $0.02 v/s cons of $0.01
* Shares down as much as 2.4 percent
(New throughout, adds details from conference call; updates
stock price, adds byline and HOUSTON dateline)
By Gary McWilliams
HOUSTON, May 2 ConocoPhillips reported a
surprise quarterly loss on Tuesday as operating costs came in
higher than expected, sending its shares lower in afternoon
However, the largest U.S. independent oil producer's results
reflected a slow but steady improvement across the industry
bolstered by improved pricing for its oil and natural gas. Crude
prices are up more than 50 percent from a year ago.
Don Wallette Jr., chief financial officer, said the latest
quarter included a $200 million loss from a currency hedge tied
to the British pound and a benefit of about $100 million from a
tax loss carry forward.
The company expects to complete the sale of some Canadian
oil sands and natural gas properties this quarter, and will
finish a planned $3 billion share buyback by year end, he said
in a conference call.
The Houston-based company said its total realized price was
$36.18 per barrel of oil equivalent in the first quarter,
compared with $22.94 a year earlier.
ConocoPhillips's production, excluding Libya, inched up 2
percent to 1.584 million barrels of oil equivalent per day
(boepd) in the latest quarter.
That was higher than Wall Street expectations of 1.571
"Production was above guidance, but this was outweighed by
higher costs," Raymond James analyst Pavel Molchanov said.
The company's operating expenses of $1.30 billion were
higher than Raymond James' estimate of $1.24 billion, Molchanov
said. Exploration expenses of $258 million on a pre-tax basis
were also much larger than the $70 million Barclays analysts had
ConocoPhillips said it expects production of between 1.495
million and 1.535 million boepd for the current quarter,
excluding any output from Libya. The estimate does not reflect
the impact of recently announced asset sales.
The oil producer said last month it would sell natural
gas-heavy assets in San Juan basin to privately held Hilcorp
Energy Co for about $3 billion and earlier agreed to sell oil
sands and western Canadian natural gas assets to Cenovus Energy
Inc for C$17.7 billion.
ConocoPhillips has also marked other gas-weighted assets for
sale, including some assets in the Anadarko basin, the Barnett
shale field, and the Gulf of Mexico.
Net profit was $800 million, or 62 cents per share, in the
first quarter ended March 31, compared with a net loss of $1.5
billion, or $1.18 per share, a year earlier.
Excluding a gain on the sale of assets in Canada, the
company posted a loss of 2 cents per share. Analysts on average
were expecting a profit of 1 cent per share, according to
Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
(Reporting by Swetha Gopinath in Bengaluru and Gary McWilliams
in Houston; Editing by David Gregorio)