Pioneer Third-Quarter Profit Rises on Higher Production

Pioneer Natural Resources Co. (PXD), the energy explorer whose shares have doubled in value this year, said third-quarter profit more than quadrupled as output increased and oil prices rose.

Net income increased to $91.1 million, or 65 cents a share, from $19.2 million, or 15 cents, a year earlier, the company said in a statement today. Excluding one-time items, per-share earnings were below the $1.35 average of 38 analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

Pioneer was among the 10 largest holders of net acreage in the Permian Basin in Texas at the end of the second quarter, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The Irving, Texas-based company has estimated its 640,000 net acres in the Permian -- including the Spraberry and Wolfcamp areas -- will yield the equivalent of more than 7 billion barrels of oil.

Average sales volumes during the third quarter increased to the equivalent of 172,611 barrels of oil a day from 159,894 barrels a year earlier, based on continuing operations. That’s “slightly below” the company’s guidance for the quarter, Pioneer said.

The failure to meet the output estimate was “a result of delays in bringing new wells on production in the Eagle Ford Shale related to increased pad drilling,” Scott Sheffield, chairman and chief executive officer of Pioneer, said in the statement. “We expect fourth-quarter production to grow significantly as these delayed wells and a substantial number of new pad wells from the Eagle Ford Shale and the Spraberry/Wolfcamp areas are placed on production.”

Oil Prices

Oil futures traded in New York rose 15 percent from a year earlier to average $105.81 a barrel in the third quarter. Gas futures traded in New York averaged $3.555 per million British thermal units in the quarter, a 23 percent rise from a year earlier.

Pioneer agreed to sell its Alaska unit to Caelus Energy Alaska LLC for $550 million in cash in October and will redeploy capital to its Permian assets.

The earnings were released after the close of regular trading in New York. The shares, which have 27 buy, nine hold and three sell recommendations, from analysts, rose 4 percent to $213.41 at 4:03 p.m.

To contact the reporter on this story: Peter Ward in New York at pward41@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Susan Warren at susanwarren@bloomberg.net

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