January 29, 2015 / 12:26 PM / 5 years ago

Conoco has quarterly loss, cuts capex again on oil slide

(Reuters) - ConocoPhillips (COP.N), the largest independent oil and gas company, on Thursday reported a quarterly loss and again slashed its 2015 capital expenditures, citing lower crude prices.

ConocoPhillips Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Ryan M. Lance (2nd R) rings the closing bell at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), February 27, 2013. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

Rising supplies of oil from sources including North American shale basins and weakening demand have left global markets flooded with oil, a market imbalance that has caused prices to plummet almost 60 percent since June.

In response to the price collapse, oil and gas companies have made drastic cuts to budgets, idled drilling rigs and in some cases, cut jobs.

ConocoPhillips, which previously announced plans to cut 2015 spending by 20 percent in December, said it now expects to spend $11.5 billion, down from a prior projection of $13.5 billion.

Reductions will come primarily from the deferral of onshore drilling and exploration programs in the Lower 48, and deferral of major project spending, the company said.

Lower spending may also dent production growth. ConocoPhillips said it now expects 2015 output from continuing operations to grow 2 to 3 percent, excluding Libya. The Houston company said in December it expected output to grow 3 percent.

“We are responding decisively to a weak price outlook in 2015 by exercising our capital and balance sheet flexibility,” Ryan Lance, ConocoPhillips’ chief executive officer said in a statement. “In this environment our priorities are to protect our dividend and base production, stay on track for cash flow neutrality in 2017, and preserve future opportunities.”

ConocoPhillips said its fourth-quarter loss was $39 million or 3 cents per share, compared with $2.5 billion, or $2.00 per share in the same quarter a year earlier.

Excluding one-time items related to the cancellation of the company’s Freeport LNG agreement and the write-down of some oil and gas properties, ConocoPhillips had a profit of 60 cents.

Analysts on average had expected a profit of 59 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Reporting by Anna Driver in Houston; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama

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