U.S. energy firm
) reported better-than-expected first quarter results amid higher
. Earnings per share - excluding one-time items - came in at $1.78,
well above the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.61.
However, Apache's performance deteriorated from the year-ago
adjusted profit of $2.00 per share, as asset sales reduced
Revenues of $3,675.0 million were down 6.9% from the year-ago
quarter but were higher than the Zacks Consensus Estimate of
The production of oil and natural gas averaged 639,804
oil-equivalent barrels per day (BOE/d) (58% liquids), down
approximately 13.4% year over year. Apache's production for oil and
natural gas liquids (NGLs) was down roughly 7.9% at 371,701 barrels
per day (Bbl/d), while natural gas production of 1,608.6 million
cubic feet per day (MMcf/d) was down 19.9% from the first quarter
The average realized crude oil price during the first quarter was
$101.03 per barrel, representing a decrease of 1.4% from the
year-ago realization of $102.42. However, the average realized
natural gas price during the Mar quarter of 2013 was $4.46 per
thousand cubic feet (Mcf), up 18.3% from the year-ago period.
Apache's lease operating expenses totaled $597.0 million, down
17.3% from $722.0 million in the year-ago quarter.
Balance Sheet & Capital Spending
As of Mar 31, 2014, Apache had approximately $1,643.0 million in
cash and cash equivalents. The company had a long-term debt of
$9,673.0 million, representing a debt-to-capitalization ratio of
During the three months ended Mar 31, 2014, Apache's capital
investments (excluding acquisitions) totaled $2,897.0 million.
To Sell Stakes in Gulf to Freeport
In another announcement, Apache said that it will offload its
interests in deepwater Gulf of Mexico projects to mineral explorer
Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc.
) oil and gas subsidiary for $1.4 billion. The to-be-sold
properties include the Lucius and Heidelberg development projects,
together with 11 exploration blocks. The decision is in accordance
with the Houston-based oil and gas explorer's plan to exit business
that do not fit into the company's long-term growth plan, apart
from paring borrowings and fund buybacks.
Zacks Rank & Stock Picks
Apache currently retains a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold), implying that it
is expected to perform in line with the broader U.S. equity market
over the next one to three months.
Meanwhile, one can look at
Athlon Energy Inc.
Rex Energy Corp.
) as good buying opportunities. These U.S. upstream energy
operators - sporting a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) - have solid
secular growth stories with potential to rise significantly from
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