ConocoPhillips expects production to fall

Posted: Friday, October 08, 2004

ConocoPhillips this week released an interim update of its third-quarter market and operating conditions, saying, among other things, that it anticipates crude oil and natural gas production to fall about 7 percent below that of the second quarter, in part because of maintenance to infrastructure in Alaska.

The report, covering the period from July 1 to September 30, said increased output from Bayu-Undan in the Timor Sea was expected to be more than offset by the impact of Alaska and North Sea scheduled maintenance, as well as that caused by normal seasonal declines.

The company still expects full-year production worldwide to reach approximately 1.56 million barrels-of-oil-equivalent per day, including syncrude.

The interim report came with a proviso, however, warning that market indicators and company estimates might differ from actual results to be reported on Oct. 27.

The company noted higher worldwide crude oil prices and lower U.S. natural gas prices.

For instance, average third-quarter crude oil prices came in between $41.54 and $43.86 a barrel depending on the market indicators measured, up from between $35.36 and $38.31 in the second quarter. The indicators included Dated Brent (a measure of European crude prices), West Texas Intermediate and Alaska North Slope U.S. West Coast (crude going south from Alaska via tankers).

The oil prices do not reflect the very recent sharp rise in crude oil prices that have seen per-barrel costs jump to around $50.

Meanwhile, the Henry Hub (a gas price market indicator) saw average prices fall from about $6 per thousand cubic feet to $5.75/mcf during the quarter.

ConocoPhillips also said its debt balance was expected to be $15.5 billion and its cash balance approximately $3 billion.

ConocoPhillips Alaska, the company's local presence, is the state's number one oil and gas producer.

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