Devon Energy Swings to 4Q Loss on Big Asset Write-Down

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Devon Energy Corp. swung to a fourth-quarter loss as the oil and gas exploration company posted a $896 million asset write-down.

Devon and many other energy companies have turned their focus to more-profitable oil projects as natural-gas prices remain low. Devon also had added major international investors in its shale plays last year, such as its $1.4 billion joint-venture deal with Japanese trading house Sumitomo Corp. and a $2.2 billion venture with Chinese oil major Sinopec International Petroleum Exploration & Production Corp.

"During the year we continued to make significant progress toward the conversion of our asset portfolio to a higher oil weighting," President and Chief Executive John Richels said. "This is evident through the strong oil-production growth we delivered during the year and the impressive growth in oil reserves."

The company on Wednesday said fourth-quarter average daily oil production rose 13%, including growth of 30% in the U.S. However, overall daily production was down slightly as natural-gas production declined 5.9%.

Average realized prices were down 8.9% overall, led by a steep decline in average realized prices for natural-gas liquids.

Devon reported a loss of $357 million, or 89 cents a share, compared with a year-earlier profit of $507 million, or $1.25 a share. Excluding write-downs, derivatives impacts and other items, adjusted earnings were 78 cents. Revenue eased 0.2% to $2.58 billion.

Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters most-recently projected earnings of 75 cents a share on revenue of $2.36 billion.

Copyright (c) 2012 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

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