April 23, 2012 / 12:14 PM / 6 years ago

ConocoPhillips profit lags Wall Street view

(Reuters) - ConocoPhillips (COP.N), which is splitting into two stand-alone companies at the end of the month, reported a lower-than-expected quarterly profit, hurt by weak refining margins, and its shares fell in premarket trading.

ConocoPhillips CEO and Chairman James Mulva attends the 20th World Petroleum Congress in Doha December 6, 2011. REUTERS/Mohammed Dabbous

Net profit for the first quarter was $2.9 billion, or $2.27 per share, compared with $3 billion, or $2.09 per share, a year earlier.

Excluding $330 million on net special gains, earnings were $2.02 per share. That fell short of the analysts’ average forecast of $2.08, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Refining and marketing profit fell to $452 million from $482 million a year earlier, while the oil and gas exploration and production arm’s earnings, excluding one-time items, declined to $2.13 billion from $2.2 billion.

Oil and gas production totaled 1.64 million barrels of oil equivalent per day in the quarter, down 65,000 from a year earlier, but above the 1.62 million it had said earlier this month that it produced.

The decline was due largely to assets sales and the shutdown of a field in Bohai Bay, China, after a leak there, the company said.

Last week, ConocoPhillips said output from its oil and gas production arm would rise 3 percent to 5 percent annually, reaching 1.8 million barrels of oil per day by 2016.

The company’s refining and marketing operations will be spun off into a stand-alone business named “Phillips 66.”

Shares of ConocoPhillips were down 1.9 percent at $71.50 in premarket trading.

The stock had risen slightly more than 1 percent through Friday’s close, outperforming the drop of nearly 3 percent in the Chicago Board Options Exchange’s index of oil companies .OIX.

Reporting By Matt Daily in New York; Editing by Gerald E. McCormick, Dave Zimmerman and Lisa Von Ahn

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
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