By Sabrina Valle
HOUSTON (Reuters) – Occidental Petroleum on Tuesday beat analysts’ third-quarter profit estimates on strong U.S. oil production, but its results were well below a year ago due to lower energy prices and weaker chemical and pipeline results.
The oil and gas company reported a $1.18 a share profit compared to average Wall Street analyst forecasts for an 84 cent a share profit, according to LSEG. Adjusted earnings fell by more than half to $1.13 billion compared to the same quarter last year.
U.S. oil producers are reporting weaker third-quarter profits on a drop in oil and gas prices from a year ago. But earnings are up compared to the second quarter on an improvement in prices.
Occidental sold its oil for an average $80.70 per barrel in the third quarter, down from $83.64 per barrel from a year earlier, but up 10% from the second quarter.
It bought back $342 million of Berkshire Hathaway’s preferred shares, bringing redemptions this year to 15% of the initial $10 billion investment by Warren Buffett’s firm that was used by Occidental to fund its acquisition of Anadarko Petroleum in 2019.
The payments came as Berkshire last month bought about $246 million in Occidental stock, raising its stake to 25.8%.
Shares were up 65 cents a share in late trading after closing down 2.5% at $60.20 apiece.
The U.S. oil and gas producer pumped 1.22 million barrels of oil and gas per day (mboed), well above the 1.19 mboed midpoint of its August forecast.
Results were helped by asset sales that generated $142 million in pre-tax proceeds.
Its chemical and midstream unit earnings fell compared to a year ago. Midstream swung to a loss of $130 million from a $104 million profit.
Its chemicals business profit fell to $373 million from $580 million a year ago.
Separately, the company said investment firm BlackRock agreed to invest $550 million in a proposed direct air capture carbon project in Texas.
Adjusted profit at rival oil producer Devon Energy was $1.65 a share, better than analysts’ estimate of $1.57 a share.
However, Devon shares fell in after-hours trading after the company forecast production in the fourth quarter and 2024 would be flat at about 650,000 barrels of oil and gas per day.
(Reporting by Sabrina Valle in Houston and Sourasis Bose in Bengaluru; Editing by Krishna Chandra Eluri, Stephen Coates and Jamie Freed)