Boosted by higher oil prices, ConocoPhillips earned $517 million in Alaska in the first quarter of 2010, more than double what the company earned in the first quarter of 2009.
However, profits fell about 4 percent from the $536 million ConocoPhillips earned in Alaska the fourth quarter of 2009, the result of steadily declining oil production.
ConocoPhillips, the biggest oil producer in Alaska, produced an average of 247,000 barrels of liquids per day in the state during the first three months of the year, down about 10 percent from the 275,000 bpd produced during the same period of 2009 and down about 2 percent from the 252,000 bpd produced during the final three months of 2009.
The company reported an average sale price of $77.25 per barrel of Alaska North Slope crude oil during the first quarter of the year, up slightly from $74.35 per barrel in the fourth quarter of 2009 and nearly double $41.75 per barrel in the first quarter of 2009.
ConocoPhillips produced 94 million cubic feet of natural gas per day on average in Alaska in the first quarter of the year, down from 95 mmcfpd produced in the fourth quarter of 2009, but up from 92 mmcfpd produced in the first quarter of last year.
The company reported an average price of $5.28 per thousand cubic feet for Alaska natural gas. In a rare occurrence, Alaska prices roughly matched those in the Lower 48, where ConocoPhillips reported an average price of $5.21 per mcf in the first quarter.
Historically, Alaska gas prices, set by regulators in long-term contracts rather than on a spot market, have been well below the national average. Recently, though, that trend reversed. In the first quarter of 2009, ConocoPhillips sold Alaska natural gas for an average price of $7.69 per mcf and Lower 48 gas for an average price of $3.76 per mcf.
ConocoPhillips reported sales of 56 mmcf per day from the liquefied natural gas facility on the Kenai Peninsula in the first quarter of 2010, up from 43 mmcfpd in the first quarter of 2009, when several severe and extension winter cold snaps forced diversions to local gas markets, but down from 64 mmcfpd in the relatively warmer fourth quarter of 2009.
Editorís note: See story in May 9 issue of Petroleum News, available online to subscribers on Friday, May 7 at www.PetroleumNews.com.