Jan 30 (Reuters) - ConocoPhillips reported Wednesday a drop in quarterly profit as oil and gas prices weakened and output from the third-largest U.S. oil and gas producer remained steady compared with a year before, though it anticipated a likely decline in the first quarter.
Its adjusted fourth-quarter profit was $1.8 billion, or $1.43 per share, compared with $2.1 billion, or $1.55 per share. The figures exclude special items such as impairments and discontinued operations, most notably its spun-off refining arm Phillips 66.
Analysts had expected an adjusted profit of $1.42 per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Production in the quarter totaled 1.607 million barrels of oil or oil equivalent (boe) per day, compared with 1.60 million a year before. Conoco said first-quarter output would be 1.58 million to 1.60 million boe per day, while full-year 2013 production would be 1.475 million to 1.525 million.
Apart from its refineries, Conoco has been selling off assets to cut its debt and said it managed to raise $2.1 billion from sales completed in 2012.
"The company has announced asset sales that are expected to close by mid-2013, generating additional proceeds of approximately $9.6 billion," Conoco said. "The company continues to evaluate opportunities to further optimize the portfolio."
The Houston-based company ended 2012 with preliminary reserves of 8.6 billion boe and proved reserve additions expected to be 942 million boe -- or 156 percent of 2012 production. Most of the reserve additions were from its interests in the Canadian oil sands, it said.