HOUSTON: Occidental Petroleum Corp on Monday posted a larger-than-expected fourth-quarter loss despite higher oil and gas prices as an asset sale weighed on results.
The U.S. producer has slashed jobs and output after the coronavirus pandemic hammered global energy demand, pressuring an energy company that had loaded up on debt in 2019 to acquire an oil rival. Its fourth-quarter loss widened to US$731 million compared with a US$269 million loss in the same quarter a year ago.
Shares fell as much as 4per cent in after-hours trading but later pared losses to trade down 2per cent at US$25.85.
The adjusted per-share loss of 78 cents was higher than analyst expectations for a 59-cent loss, according to IBES data on Refinitiv. For the same quarter last year, the company reported a per-share loss of 30 cents.
“We remain committed to strengthening our balance sheet and transitioned into 2021 with an improved financial position by achieving our 2020 divestiture target, reducing debt and successfully extending debt maturities,” said Chief Executive Vicki Hollub.
Occidental reported a net loss of US$1.3 billion, or US$1.41 per share, flat with the US$1.3 billion, or US$1.50 per share, loss in the fourth quarter of 2019. The latest loss included a pretax charge of US$820 million from the sale of oil properties in West Texas.
The company collected 5per cent more, or US$40.77 per barrel, for its oil in the fourth quarter from the third, benefiting from a rebound in oil prices. It also collected 31per cent more for its natural gas during the final quarter compared with the third.
Occidental forecast the current quarter's oil and gas production would shrink about 4per cent, mostly due to output losses during the recent winter storm in Texas. Shale firms shut some wells as electric power outages and frozen lines curtailed production.
It projected a US$225 million first-quarter profit from chemicals and forecast pipeline and marketing losses would widen to a range of between US$135 million and US$185 million.
For the year, Occidental forecast oil and gas output would be flat compared with the fourth quarter at about 1.14 million barrels per day. It expects pretax earnings from its OxyChem chemicals unit to show a profit of between US$775 million and US$825 million offset by a pretax loss in its pipeline and marketing business of between US$650 million and US$750 million.
Occidental reiterated capital spending plans of around US$2.9 billion this year.
It plans to sell between US$2 billion and US$3 billion in properties this year, the proceeds of which would go to pay down its debt of about US$33.6 billion.
(Reporting by Jennifer Hiller in Houston; Editing by Sonya Hepinstall and Matthew Lewis)