Apache increases production by 25%, boosts quarterly earnings to $1.1B

Source: Apache

Apache Corporation (NYSE:APA) reported production of 732,000 barrels of oil equivalent (boe) per day and earnings of $1.1 billion, or $2.86 per diluted share, for the three-month period ending March 31, 2011. These compare with production of 586,000 boe per day and net income of $705 million, or $2.08 per diluted share, for the same period in the prior year. 

"Apache is beginning the year with a solid, strong performance," said G. Steven Farris, chairman and chief executive officer. "Despite a number of challenges, our diversified portfolio of assets delivered exceptional earnings and operating results. Liquids production increased 57,000 barrels to 358,000 barrels per day, which enabled Apache to achieve stand-out earnings and cash flow as a leading beneficiary of rising oil prices." 

Higher oil prices and production from new wells drilled during the quarter and assets acquired during 2010 combined to increase revenues to $3.9 billion, up from $2.7 billion last year. Cash from operations before changes in operating assets and liabilities* increased 43 percent from the prior year to $2.2 billion. Excluding certain items that management believes affect the comparability of operating results, Apache reported adjusted earnings* of $1.1 billion in first quarter 2011 compared with $712 million in the year-earlier period. On a per-share basis, adjusted earnings were $2.90 in the first quarter compared with $2.10 per diluted share in the prior-year period. 

Liquid hydrocarbons represented 49 percent of production and 77 percent of revenues. Approximately 60 percent of the company's oil production came from operations outside North America and received in excess of a $10 premium per barrel compared with domestic production benchmarked to West Texas Intermediate prices. 

On the operational front, the company achieved several milestones. These include Apache's most prolific development well in the Forties field (North Sea), which came online at approximately 11,800 barrels of oil per day. 

In the Permian Basin, Apache is operating 24 rigs, up nearly five-fold from a year ago. Targeting primarily oil objectives, Apache drilled 110 wells including 15 horizontals during the first quarter. 

Since drilling the first-ever horizontal Hogshooter well last year, Apache has drilled six wells into this oil-rich segment of the Anadarko basin's Granite Wash formation. To date, every well has tested in excess of 1,000 barrels of oil and 2 million cubic feet of gas per day. 

The company's first operated deepwater production in the Gulf of Mexico with start-up at the Balboa field.
Offshore Australia, Apache's Zola discovery well encountered 410 feet of net gas pay. 

In Egypt, Apache operated 22 rigs during the quarter, drilling 33 wells, including the company's first wells in the Tayim development lease in West Kalabsha producing from deeper Paleozoic pay. Apache's production remained online throughout the quarter, increasing sequentially from the previous three months. 

"We continue to strengthen our land position, both in North America and internationally. Our LNG initiatives, Kitimat in Canada and Wheatstone in Australia, are steadily progressing toward project sanction with their respective joint venture partnerships," Farris said. 

"Apache's opportunity set has never been more robust. We have a deep backlog of exploitation opportunities across our portfolio. In addition to our legacy plays in core areas, we have other potentially large-scale, long-life assets such as deepwater, LNG, and unconventional plays that can provide lasting, long-term value to our shareholders."

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