ConocoPhillips misses profit estimates, boosts share buyback

Business

The Phillips 66 gas station in Superior, Colorado, U.S., July 27, 2017. REUTERS/Rick Wilking

(Reuters) – U.S. oil and gas producer ConocoPhillips (COP.N) reported a lower-than-expected quarterly adjusted profit on Tuesday and boosted its share buyback program by $10 billion.

Investors have made higher returns a key priority, pressing oil and gas drillers to boost buybacks and dividends instead of growing production at a time when commodity pricing remains volatile.

Conoco said its realized price per barrel fell 11.3% in the quarter.

Oil prices have taken a hit from the prolonged trade war between the United States and China, and a glut of shale supply in North America.

The company confirmed it would spend $6.5 billion to $6.7 billion in 2020 and said it expects its annual production to range from 1.230 to 1.270 million barrels of oil equivalent per day (boe/d), which includes the impact of a recent third-party pipeline outage on the Kebabangan Field in Malaysia.

ConocoPhillips said in November it would boost its oil and gas production by about 3% per year, restrain annual spending to about $7 billion and return $50 billion to shareholders over the next decade.

The Houston-based company’s adjusted net income fell 36.5% to $831 million in the quarter ended Dec.31. as it bore the brunt of lower output and realized crude prices.

On a per share basis, it earned 76 cents, while analysts had expected a profit of 80 cents, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

Total production, excluding Libya, fell by 24,000 boe/d to 1.289 million boe/d.

Reporting by Shanti S Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel

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