April 5, 2012 / 12:16 PM / in 6 years

Conoco sees quarterly output below year-earlier

(Reuters) - Oil company ConocoPhillips (COP.N) said on Thursday its first-quarter oil and natural gas production dropped about 5 percent from a year earlier.

The company, which is splitting its oil and gas production arm from its refinery operations at the end of the month, said its oil and gas output averaged 1.62 million barrels of oil equivalent (BOE) per day during the quarter.

That is slightly above its forecast for full-year output of 1.55 million and 1.60 million BOE per day, but below the 1.7 million BOE figure from the first quarter a year ago.

Conoco’s refineries saw pressure on profit margins because of the grades of crude oil it uses, the company said.

Its U.S. refineries operated in the upper 80s percentage of their capacity during the quarter, while its refineries outside the country operated in the high 90s percentage area, it said.

The company expects to record $10 billion in proceeds from asset sales this year as part of its long-running effort to cut debt.

Conoco is scheduled to release its first-quarter earnings report on April 23.

Shares in the company were unchanged at $76.18 in early trading.

Reporting By Matt Daily; Editing by Gerald E. McCormick

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