UPDATE 3-Lower oil and natural gas prices hit Apache Corp profit

Thu Aug 2, 2012 3:43pm EDT

* Oil and gas output disappoint

* Shares fall 5 percent

* 2nd-qtr profit $2.07/share vs Street view $2.53

By Anna Driver

Aug 2 (Reuters) - Apache Corp on Thursday reported a lower-than-expected quarterly profit as oil and gas output fell short of Wall Street expectations and weak prices also hurt results.

The second-quarter results sent Apache's shares down 5 percent in afternoon New York Stock Exchange trading.

The company's oil and gas production rose 3.4 percent to a record high in the quarter but fell short of Wall Street estimates. The lower-than-expected output was a factor in the earnings miss, analysts at Houston energy investment bank Simmons & Co told clients in a note.

Unexpected downtime in places including the North Sea and the Gulf of Mexico shelf cost the company 16,000 barrels of oil equivalent (boe) per day in the quarter, Apache said.

"We had a confluence of things that hit us all in one quarter which you usually get over the whole years," Steve Farris, Apache's chief executive officer said on a conference call.

Worries about the health of the global economy and easing tensions in the Middle East pushed crude oil prices lower in the second quarter, while U.S. natural gas prices plummeted from a year earlier amid bountiful supplies.

The oil and gas producer's second quarter net income was $337 million, or 86 cents per share, compared with $1.24 billion, or $3.17 per share, in the same quarter a year earlier.

Excluding one-time items, the company earned $2.07 per share. On that basis, analysts expected $2.53 per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Oil and gas production rose to 774,486 boe per day from 748,519 boe per day a year earlier.

Simmons & Co had estimated Apache's production at 795,000 boe per day, while Barclays expected 785,000 boe per day.

Houston-based Apache received an average of $97.66 per barrel in the quarter, down 8 percent from a year earlier. The gas price it received for its production tumbled 35 percent, the company said.

Revenue fell 8 percent to $3.97 billion. Analysts expected $4.26 billion.

Apache has 3 million acres in the Permian Basin in West Texas. About 36 rigs are currently running there, and Permian production increased 5 percent in the second quarter over the year-ago period, Chief Executive G. Steven Farris said in a statement on Thursday.

Apache has steadily been acquiring acreage in the Permian Basin since 1991. The company's position there was substantially boosted by a 2010 acquisition from BP Plc and its merger with Mariner Energy.

Shares of Apache fell $4.41 to $82.45 in afternoon New York Stock Exchange trading.

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