Anadarko Petroleum Corp., the largest U.S. independent oil and natural-gas producer by market value, reached its highest price after fourth-quarter profit exceeded analysts’ estimates.
Anadarko climbed 5.2 percent to $87.21 at the close in New York, the highest price since it began trading in 1986. The company yesterday reported per-share profit that, excluding the cost of writing down coalbed-methane properties and other one-time items, was 37 percent more than the average of 27 analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg.
Output rose 12 percent to the equivalent of 683,000 barrels of oil a day during the last three months of 2011, The Woodlands, Texas-based company said. Sales volumes climbed to 63 million barrels at an average price of $104.82 a barrel of oil and condensate, more than the $98 estimate from Raymond James & Associates Inc.
“It looks like it’s a combination of pricing and production,” Andrew Coleman, an analyst at Raymond James in Houston who has a “strong buy” on Anadarko shares and doesn’t own any, said in a telephone interview yesterday.
The company reported a net loss of $358 million, or 72 cents a share, compared with a profit of $111 million, or 22 cents, a year earlier. The loss stems in part from about $1 billion in charges for coalbed-methane holdings in the Powder River Basin of Wyoming, John Christiansen, a spokesman, said in a phone interview. Low gas prices reduced their value, he said.
Revenue in the fourth quarter climbed 43 percent from a year earlier to $3.84 billion.
The company said on a conference call today it’s seeking to sell assets in Indonesia as well as gas properties in South Texas and it expects bids on its Brazilian assets in the next few weeks.
Anadarko is developing U.S. onshore projects in the Eagle Ford and Marcellus shale formations. The company also is looking to boost production from the Gulf of Mexico and off the coast of Africa in future years.
Shale projects totaled more than 10 percent of Anadarko’s sales volumes at the end of 2011, compared with less than 1 percent at the start of 2010, the company said. Daily production from the Eagle Ford in Texas was about 77,000 barrels of oil equivalent at the end of 2011, more than 65 percent of which was petroleum liquids, Anadarko said.
Off the coast of Ghana, the Jubilee project had output of about 70,000 barrels a day at the end of the fourth quarter, Anadarko said in an operations report yesterday. Production may increase to 90,000 barrels a day this year. Tullow Oil Plc, a partner in the project, said in January that Jubilee may reach 120,000 barrels of oil in 2013.
The El Merk development in Algeria is about 88 percent finished and “significant oil volumes” are possible near the end of the year, according to yesterday’s statement. Anadarko’s Caesar/Tonga project in the Gulf is moving toward crude production by mid-2012 and first oil may come from Lucius in 2014.
Anadarko last year agreed to pay BP Plc $4 billion to settle claims related to the 2010 explosion and oil spill at the Macondo well in the U.S. Gulf. Quarterly operating cash flow was affected by $3.87 billion in settlement and related costs, the company said.
Anadarko expects Gulf exploration this year will return to levels it reached before a U.S. moratorium on deep-water drilling was imposed because of Macondo.
Independent producers don’t own refining, chemical or retail-fuel businesses.