Marathon Oil Corp. said Tuesday that its profit climbed 68.5 percent as it increased production and enjoyed higher prices for both oil and natural gas.
But its shares fell almost 5 percent as analysts said they were disappointed by an unexpected decline in one of its offshore oil fields in the Gulf of Mexico and a decision by Marathon to drop its 2010 oil production forecast to the low end of what the company had previously expected.
The Houston petroleum company reported net income of $696 million, or 98 cents per share, for the three months ended Sept. 30. That compares with $413 million, or 58 cents per share, a year ago. Excluding items, it earned $1 a share.
Revenue increased 28.3 percent to $18.6 billion from $14.5 billion a year ago..
The results beat Wall Street expectations of 95 cents on revenue of $17.3 billion.
Marathon reported higher profits in its oil production and exploration business, as well as its refineries and integrated gas operation. It's oil sands mining business saw profits drop year-over-year. The company cut back on capital spending by 26 percent to $1.06 billion, primarily due to decreased spending on refineries.
The company also sold oil and gas for higher prices, compared with last year. Its average price for oil in the third quarter was $69.52 in the U.S., up from an average of $61.07 last year. Natural gas prices also increased to $4.43 per 1,000 cubic feet in the third quarter, up from $3.63 in the year-ago period.
Its shares fell $1.68, or 4.7 percent, to $33.81 in morning trading.