Occidental Petroleum Corp. on Tuesday said that its third-quarter profit rose 15 percent.
The Westwood company reported net income of $1.58 billion ($1.96 a share) compared with $1.38 billion ($1.69) in the same period a year earlier. Net sales rose 8 percent to $6.45 billion.
Adjusted net income was $1.97 a share. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters on average expected adjusted net income of $1.90 a share on revenue of $6.29 billion.
The company benefited from an increase domestic oil and natural gas production and higher U.S. energy prices. U.S. production was the equivalent of 476,000 barrels of oil per day, up 7,000 barrels a day from a year earlier, and also higher than in the second quarter. The increase offset lower production in the Middle East and North Africa. Worldwide, production averaged 767,000 barrels a day, up only 1,000 barrels from a year earlier.
Occidental’s realized price for crude worldwide rose 8 percent to $103.95 a barrel. Domestic crude prices were up 13 percent to $104.30, with domestic gas prices up 32 percent.
During a conference call with analysts, Chief Executive Stephen Chazen said the company expects to decide by the end of this year whether to spin off its California oil and gas operations into a separate company. Occidental already plans to pare down its holdings in the Middle East, North Africa and in other parts of the United States through asset sales and partnerships.
“Separating California from the rest could enhance the visibility and attractiveness of the remaining business,” said Chazen, whose company is the largest oil and gas mineral acreage holder in the state with rights to more than 2.1 million net acres.
Shares closed down $1.06, or 1 percent, to $96.48 on the New York Stock Exchange.