Jan 29 (Reuters) – Hess Corp on Wednesday reported a quarterly profit well below Wall Street expectations as oil and natural gas production lagged due to instability in Libya and maintenance in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico.
For the fourth quarter, Hess reported net income of $1.93 billion, or $5.76 per share, compared with $374 million, or $1.10 per share, a year earlier.
Excluding one-time gains from the sale of energy terminals and other assets, the company earned 96 cents per share. By that measure, analysts on average had expected $1.08, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Hess produced 307,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day in the quarter, down from 396,000 boe/d a year earlier.
Roughly 20,000 boe/d of the drop was due to political instability in Libya. Hess partners there with Libya's National Oil Corp, which controls the nation's production.
Part of the production drop also was due to asset sales. Hess has broken up its huge energy business over the last year to focus more on U.S. exploration and production and to appease unhappy investors. They include hedge fund Elliott Management, which won three seats on the company's board last year.
As part of the focus on finding and producing oil, rather than refining and the retail businesses, Hess said earlier this month that it would try to spin off its gas station and convenience store network, which analysts believe could be worth more than $1.5 billion.
Shares of Hess fell 1.7 percent to $75.51 in premarket trading on Wednesday.
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