Atlantic Richfield Co., the nation's seventh largest oil company, Monday reported a 22 percent gain in third-quarter earnings and Shell Oil Co., the eighth largest refiner, posted a 20 percent hike.
Arco said stepped-up crude oil production from Alaska's North Slope bolstered third-quarter results, which were restrained by an 18 percent drop in petroleum product sales and a loss in its metal mining segment because of a nationwide copper strike.
Shell attributed its improved earnings to higher petroleum prices and increased crude oil production.
Most other refiners have reported relatively modest third-quarter profit gains such as Standard Oil Co.'s 2.6 percent rise and the the 18 percent advance posted by both Exxon Corp. and Standard Oil Co. (Ohio).
Arco earned $389.7 million, or $1.57 a share, in the third quarter, up from $320.3 million, or $1.30 a share, in the July-September period last year. Revenues advanced 29 percent to $5.63 billion against $4.37 billion.
Arco had a $115 million gain in the latest quarter from the sale of its interest in the Colony Oil shale project in Colorado and costs involved in the shutdown of copper facilities in Montana by its Anaconda Co. subsidiary.
Arco's share of oil production from Alaska's Prudhoe Field averaged 275,000 barrels a day in the third quarter versus 236,000 barrels daily a year earlier.
Shell reported third-quarter earnings rose to $353 million, or $1.14 a share, from $293 million,or 95 cents a share, in the same period last year. The per-share figures reflect a 2-for-1 stock split in June 1980. Revenues were up 36 percent to $5.13 billion from $3.76 billion.
'Earnings increased in both the exploration and production and oil products segments of our business, although earnings from the chemical products segment declined, reflecting the economic downturn,' Shell President John Bookout said.
'These increases resulted from higher prices for crude oil, natural gas and natural gas liquids as well as increased production of crude oil,' he said.
Earnings from oil products rose to $81 million from $40 million in the 1979 third quarter when restricted supplies reduced profits, Shell said.