HOUSTON, Oct. 30 (UPI) -- Nearly across the board, ConocoPhillips reported net production for the third quarter increased at a time when oversupplies are hurting corporate profits.
"We are accelerating actions to position our company for low and volatile prices, while improving the underlying performance of the business," said Ryan Lance, chairman and chief executive officer.
Net production from the United States, including struggling Alaska, increased for Conoco. From lucrative Texas and North Dakota shale basins, output increased by 10 percent from third quarter 2014. From Canada, production increased 14 percent and, from the Middle East and Asia, output increased by 10 percent from last year. Only in Europe did production decline, down about 1 percent year-on-year.
Most of Conoco's peers reported heavy losses for the third quarter in a low oil price scenario. Crude oil prices are lower because demand for energy products is depressed during an era when global economic growth is slow.
Conoco for the third quarter reported a net loss of $1.1 billion, compared with a net profit of $2.7 billion in third quarter 2014. Capital spending for 2015 was lowered by about 7 percent to $10.2 billion.
Looking ahead, the company said it would put a hold on exploration for oil and natural gas in deepwater fields within two years, loosening about $800 million in capital in the process.
"We are exercising flexibility in our capital program, dramatically lowering our cost structure and divesting assets that do not compete for funding in our portfolio," Lance said in a statement. "These steps will make us more flexible and resilient for the future."
Rival exploration and production company Noble Energy this week said it was expecting more, however, from deepwater basins in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico. Short lead times and low production costs in the Gulf of Mexico were expected to deliver strong returns for the company as it works through the low oil price environment.