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Business/Economy

ConocoPhillips turns first annual profit since 2014

ConocoPhillips continued its turnaround from the oil price collapse by netting the company’s first annual profit in four years with net income of more than $6.2 billion in 2018.

In its year-end earnings report issued Thursday morning, the Houston-based oil major additionally posted a fourth quarter profit of $1.8 billion, compared to a fourth quarter 2017 profit of nearly $1.6 billion.

ConocoPhillips lost $855 million overall in 2017.

The fourth quarter result is also the company’s best quarterly return since the third quarter of 2014 when oil prices averaged $97 per barrel and it earned $2.7 billion, according to report archives.

In Alaska, ConocoPhillips turned profits of $445 million for the fourth quarter and $1.8 billion overall for 2018.

The companywide earnings came on the back of $10.3 billion in revenue for the quarter and $38.7 billion for the year. ConocoPhillips generated $5.5 billion in free cash flow during the year, according to the earnings report.

CEO Ryan Lance said he is proud of the results in a formal statement.

“Our accomplishments reflect our clear commitment to a value proposition that is focused on returns and free cash flow generation, and that balances investments with returning cash flow to shareholders through price cycles. This is our formula for offering investors a compelling way to invest in our sector, ” Lance said. “We look forward to delivering another strong year of performance in 2019.”

ConocoPhillips announced a first quarter dividend of 30.5 cents per share ahead of the earnings report. The dividend will be paid March 1.

ConocoPhillips stock closed Thursday trading at $67.69 per share, up from a pre-earnings opening price of $65.76 per share.

The company sold its oil for an average price of $68.03 per barrel last year, compared to $51.89 per barrel in 2017.

ConocoPhillips Alaska leaders have said the company has set a $40 per barrel oil price break-even benchmark for all of its future projects.

During the year ConocoPhillips paid down $4.7 billion in debt and reached its debt target of $15 billion 18 months ahead of schedule, according to an earnings release.

Last July, the company announced a deal with BP to swap a portion of its interests in the offshore Clair Field in Britain’s North Sea for BP’s 38 percent stake in the Kuparuk River oil field on the North Slope, which ConocoPhillips operates. The cash-neutral deal gives ConocoPhillips a 92 percent stake in Kuparuk, according to state Division of Oil and Gas records.

The company also commenced production from its $725 million Greater Mooses Tooth-1 oil project in early October. GMT-1 is expected to produce up to 30,000 barrels of oil per day at its peak and marks the first oil production from federal leases within the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska.

Later that month ConocoPhillips approved funding for the nearby and slightly larger $1 billion-plus GMT-2 project, which is forecasted to come online in late 2021.

The company also initiated permitting on its large Willow oil prospect, also in the NPR-A, which could cost $4 billion to $6 billion to fully develop over the next six-plus years.

ConocoPhillips spent nearly $1.3 billion on capital projects in the state last year out of an overall capital budget of $6.7 billion.

2018 earnings reports for ExxonMobil and BP are scheduled to be released Feb. 1 and Feb. 5, respectively.

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