Conoco sees profits more than double

THE third-largest oil company in the US, ConocoPhillips, said its quarterly profit more than doubled yesterday as crude oil and natural gas prices returned to highs not seen since last year and refining results improved.

It said quarterly profits rose to $3.1bn (£1.9bn) compared with $1.5bn a year ago.

The figures included adjusted profits in its exploration and production unit, which jumped 59 per cent to $1.5bn, while profits at its refining unit rose to $268m, up from $94m a year ago.

Third-quarter profits at oil companies including Conoco have all benefited from higher oil and gas prices, while the recovery in the global economy has also increased demand for fuel.

Conoco is also halfway through a two-year restructuring plan aimed at reducing debt and improving shareholder returns with stock buybacks and higher dividends.

The company said it had reduced its debt-to-capital ratio to 25 per from more than 30 per cent last year and that it wasn’t planning to reduce the ratio any further.

As part of its restructuring plans, Conoco also announced its intention to sell $10bn worth of assets to raise cash. So far, Conoco has sold $7bn worth of oil and gas properties.