* Exxon's U.S. oil output up 2 percent
* Occidental's domestic output hits record
* Exxon shares down nearly 1 percent
By Anna Driver
HOUSTON, April 25 Quarterly results from Exxon
Mobil Corp and ConocoPhillips on Thursday showed
that while overall growth remained elusive, output rose in key
basins in the United States where the oil and gas companies are
spending heavily to grow crude production.
North American shale basins and the Gulf of Mexico are seen
as more secure places for energy companies to invest because
they typically offer a steady source of growth. Conoco said in
December that more than half of its nearly $16 billion budget
for 2013 will be spent in North America.
Exxon's U.S. oil and natural gas liquids production rose 2
percent in the first quarter, compared with an overall output
decline of 3.5 percent.
"Lower production at Exxon is an ongoing trend, they need so
many projects to come online to offset field decline," said
Brian Youngberg, energy company analyst at Edward Jones. "But
Conoco's shift toward the U.S. continues to proceed well."
Conoco said oil and gas production rose a combined 42
percent in the Bakken Shale in North Dakota and Texas' Permian
Basin and Eagle Ford Shale. Conoco's total output from
continuing operations edged 1 percent lower.
Fourth-largest U.S. oil company Occidental Petroleum Corp
said its daily domestic oil and gas production rose to a
record 478,000 barrels of oil equivalent (boe), most of which
was oil or natural gas liquids.
Exxon's quarterly profit edged up, helped by higher earnings
in its chemicals business but oil and gas production fell.
Earnings per share for the world's largest publicly traded
oil company topped Wall Street expectations but the gains
largely came after a big stock buyback reduced the number of
Analysts at Credit Suisse characterized it as a "weak" beat
in a note to clients.
Exxon said it will lower its quarterly share buyback to $4
billion in the second quarter, below the $5 billion in the first
First-quarter profit for the world's largest publicly traded
oil company was $2.12 per share. Analysts, on average, expected
the Irving, Texas, company to report a profit of $2.05 per
Conoco's first-quarter results met Wall Street expectations
and Occidental beat the Street, helped by higher profits in its
midstream and marketing business and lower costs, analysts said.
Conoco had a first-quarter profit of $2.1 billion, or $1.73
per share, down from $2.9 billion, or $2.27 per share, a year
Occidental reported a first-quarter net profit of $1.36
billion, or $1.68 per share, compared with $1.56 billion, or
$1.92 per share, a year earlier.
Excluding items, the Los Angeles company earned $1.69 per
share, topping analysts' average estimate of $1.54 per share,
according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Shares of Exxon fell nearly 1 percent to $88.62. Conoco
shares edged down 6 cents to $58.19 and Occidental was up 8
cents to $84.41.