Hess Corp. posts net loss of $396 million for fourth quarter

Company says it may continue with further cost reductions.
By Daniel J. Graeber Follow @dan_graeber Contact the Author   |   Jan. 27, 2016 at 9:10 AM
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NEW YORK, Jan. 27 (UPI) -- A day after announcing a cut in spending, Hess Corp. said it took a net loss of $396 million for the fourth quarter against $53 million in income year-on-year.

Most of the company's loss during the fourth quarter came from its upstream, or exploration and production, portfolio. A fourth quarter loss of $328 million is compared with a net income of $138 million in the fourth quarter of 2014.

Chief Executive Officer John Hess said the agenda for 2016 would be focused on keeping a balanced portfolio through the weakened oil sector.

"Our 2016 capital and exploratory budget is 40 percent below our 2015 spend and we will continue to pursue further cost reductions," he said in a statement.

Hess reported a net loss of $279 million for the third quarter of the year as crude oil prices continued their steady decline. During the fourth quarter, the company outlined a spending plan of between $2.9 billion and $3.1 billion. The company said Tuesday it revised its full-year guidance lower to $2.4 billion, 40 percent below last year's spending levels.

Hess said Wednesday its proved oil and gas reserves totaled about 1.08 billion barrels of oil equivalent as of Dec. 31, compared with 1.4 billion boe the previous year. The company blamed the steep drop in crude oil prices, off about 70 percent from mid-2014, for a negative revision of proved reserves of 282 million boe.

Despite the decline, the CEO said the main priority was to position Hess to recover once the sector rebounds.

"We plan to continue to invest in future growth," he said in a statement.

In July, Hess completed the sale of half of its midstream holdings in the Bakken reserve area of North Dakota to Global Infrastructure Partners for cash consideration of $2.68 billion. It sold its entire retail sector of gasoline stations and convenience stores to Marathon Petroleum Corp. in 2014.

Hess Corp. shares (NYSE: HES) were down 2.3 percent in pre-market trading.

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