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Devon Energy beats estimates despite impairment charge

Devon Energy Corp. reported a third-quarter loss of $719 million, or $1.80 a share, due to an impairment charge resulting from lower natural gas prices.
BY JAY F. MARKS Published: November 8, 2012

Due to a $1.1 billion impairment charge because of lower natural gas prices, Devon Energy Corp. on Wednesday reported a net loss of $719 million, or $1.80 a share, for the third quarter. Devon earned $1 billion, or $2.51 a share, in the same period of 2011.

Excluding one-time accounting charges, Devon earned $355 million, or 88 cents a share for the quarter. That is well above analysts' estimates of 69 cents a share.

“Devon's capital program has delivered strong results this year with aggressive drilling programs in oil-focused basins,” CEO John Richels said.

The Oklahoma City-based energy company boosted its quarterly production to an average of 678,000 barrels of oil equivalent a day, a 3 percent increase over last year.

Richels said Devon increased its oil production by 14 percent, despite scheduled maintenance at its Jackfish operation in Canada's oil sands. That reduced third-quarter production by about 10,000 barrels a day.

“As we have pursued higher-returning oil projects, we also have de-emphasized natural gas drilling, limiting overall production growth,” Richels said. “This is exactly the right tactical decision for Devon in this environment and is consistent with our long-standing strategy to optimize returns as opposed to top-line production growth.”

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