January 31, 2013 / 3:26 PM / 5 years ago

Conoco shares off 4 percent; output forecast disappoints

(Reuters) - ConocoPhillips (COP.N) shares were down 4 percent on Thursday, a day after the U.S. oil and natural gas company issued a production forecast that fell short of some Wall Street expectations.

Conoco is pursuing a strategy aimed at growing production and growing returns to shareholders. To achieve that aim, Conoco is shedding older, less-profitable assets like its Nigerian operations while investing in high-growth areas like the oil-producing Eagle Ford formation in South Texas.

The company has said its long-term production goal is for 3 to 5 percent growth, but output in the fourth quarter was flat at 1.6 million barrels of oil equivalent per day (boe) as asset dispostions weighed. [ID:nL1N0B006N]

    And on Wednesday Conoco said it sees full-year 2013 production of 1.475 million to 1.525 million boe per day.

    Maintenance and seasonal factors will negatively affect production in the second and third quarters, while a rebound is seen in the fourth quarter as output from new projects is added, the company said on a Thursday conference call with analysts.

    Analysts at Houston energy investment bank Tudor Pickering Holt characterized Conoco’s production forecast as “negative.” Tudor Pickering had expected full-year output of 1.531 million boe per day, it said in a note to clients.

    Shares of Conoco dropped $2.57 to $58.52 in morning New York Stock Exchange trading.

    Reporting By Anna Driver; Editing by Gerald E. McCormick and Bob Burgdorfer

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