Occidental Petroleum quarterly earnings down 48%, misses estimates

By Sabrina Valle and Sourasis Bose

HOUSTON (Reuters) -U.S. oil and gas producer Occidental Petroleum Corp on Tuesday reported a 48% decline in first-quarter earnings that fell well short of analyst estimates as global economic growth concerns led to a decline in oil prices.

Global energy prices in the quarter pulled back from last year’s peaks triggered by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Occidental’s crude oil sold for 19% less than the year-ago quarter, averaging $74.22 per barrel.

Earnings declined despite a boost in first quarter oil and gas daily output to 1.22 million barrels from 1.08 million a year earlier, helped by higher production from its Permian operations.

The company, in which billionaire investor Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc owns a 24% stake, reported adjusted income dropped 48% from the prior year to $1.1 billion as it accelerated investments and shareholder returns.

Adjusted earnings of $1.09 per share for the quarter fell far short of analysts’ $1.24 per share estimate compiled by Refinitiv.

Shares fell 1.6% in late trading to $58.03.

Occidental almost doubled capital spending in the quarter from a year earlier to $1.5 billion, and cash flow from operations before working capital fell 24% to $3.2 billion.

Occidental increased its year-end production guidance by 20,000 barrels of oil and gas to 1.22 million barrels per day.

The company repurchased $752 million of common stock, accounting for over 25% of its $3 billion annual repurchase program and triggered the redemption of $647 million of preferred stock.

Brent crude averaged $82 a barrel in the quarter, about 20% lower than year-ago levels as concerns rose over the health of the global economy amid the recent banking crisis in the U.S. and China’s weaker-than-estimated economic recovery.

Average domestic realized gas prices decreased by approximately 32% from the prior quarter to $3.01 per million cubic feet.

Buffett said on Saturday that Berkshire Hathaway was not planning to acquire Occidental but remained happy with its large investment in the oil company.

(Reporting by Sabrina Valle in Houston and Sourasis Bose in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta, Shinjini Ganguli and Jamie Freed)

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