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ConocoPhillips Beats Profit Forecast as Production Hits Record High

ConocoPhillips (NYSE: COP) reported on Thursday consensus-beating earnings for the fourth quarter of 2023, driven by record oil and gas production.

The U.S. oil and gas company booked fourth-quarter 2023 adjusted earnings of $2.9 billion, or $2.40 per share. This, although lower than in Q4 2022, easily beat the analyst consensus estimate of $2.09 per share.

Full-year 2023 adjusted earnings were $10.6 billion or $8.77 per share, compared with full-year 2022 adjusted earnings of $17.3 billion, or $13.52 per share. ConocoPhillips, like all other oil and gas firms, saw lower earnings for 2023, versus the records seen in 2022 with the spike in oil and gas prices. 

For the full year, ConocoPhillips generated cash provided by operating activities of $20.0 billion and cash from operations (CFO) of $21.3 billion.

At the same time, the company distributed $11.0 billion to shareholders through a three-tier framework, including $5.6 billion through the ordinary dividend and variable return of cash (VROC) and $5.4 billion through share buybacks.

Due to new project start-ups and acquisitions, as well as higher output in the U.S., ConocoPhillips delivered record full-year total company and Lower 48 production of 1.826 million barrels of oil equivalent per day (boed) and 1.067 million boed, respectively.   

“We achieved record production, reached several key milestones across our global operations and returned $11 billion to shareholders,” Ryan Lance, chairman and chief executive officer, said in a statement.  

“We also continued to enhance our portfolio by opportunistically acquiring the remaining 50% of Surmont, reaching a final investment decision on the Willow project in Alaska and further progressing our global LNG strategy,” Lance added.

Looking forward, ConocoPhillips expects 2024 production in the range of 1.91 million to 1.95 million barrels of oil equivalent per day. The guidance for this year’s total capital expenditure is $11.0 billion to $11.5 billion.

ConocoPhillips joins supermajors Exxon and Chevron in reporting better-than-expected earnings despite the lower oil and gas prices in 2023 compared to 2022.  

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By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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