UPDATE 2-Apache profit matches Street as shale production jumps
By Ernest Scheyder Aug 1 (Reuters) - Apache Corp, an oil and natural gas exploration and production company, reported a higher quarterly profit on Thursday that matched Wall Street's expectations, helped by a surge in shale operations. The company, which sold off its Gulf of Mexico shelf assets last month, has been focusing more on onshore production and said its North American onshore liquids production rose 42 percent to 175,000 barrels per day in the quarter. "We expect Apache to have an improved asset mix that will drive more predictable production growth and strong returns, and create additional shareholder value for years to come," Chief Executive Steve Farris said in a statement. Shares in the Houston-based company rose 2.2 percent to $82 in premarket trading on Thursday. For the second quarter, Apache reported net income of $1.02 billion, or $2.54 per share, compared with $337 million, or 86 cents per share, in the year-ago quarter. Excluding hedging losses and other one-time items, Apache earned $2.01 per share. By that measure, Apache's earnings matched Wall Street's expectations, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. Revenue rose 10 percent to $4.38 billion, besting the $4.28 billion analysts expected. The company's average price for its oil inched up slightly to $97.93 per barrel in the quarter, as did its average price for its natural gas, to $3.87 per thousand cubic feet. Separately, the company also reported seven oil and natural gas discoveries across Egypt's Western Desert. Apache is selling its Gulf of Mexico shelf assets for $3.75 billion to private equity firm Riverstone Holdings LLC to focus more on its U.S. onshore assets.