HOUSTON — ConocoPhillips said Wednesday its fourth-quarter earnings rose 66 percent thanks to higher oil prices and despite a drop in production and weak refining profits, The Wall Street Journal reported.
The Houston-based company reported a profit of $3.39 billion. Revenue rose 17 percent to $62.39 billion. Excluding gains on asset sales and other items, earnings rose to $2.02 a share from $1.32 a share.
Adjusted earnings beat analysts'' expectations of $1.76 a share thanks to better-than-anticipated exploration-and-production results and a smaller-than-expected drop in refining profits, said Brian Youngberg, an analyst at Edward Jones.
Conoco''s fourth-quarter results marked the end of a year in which major oil companies'' earnings soared, driven by high oil prices due to improved energy demand in emerging markets.
The average price at which Conoco, the third-largest U.S. oil company by market value, sold a barrel of oil in the fourth quarter jumped 22.4 percent to $96.42 from the same period a year earlier.