July 28 (Reuters) - U.S. oil and gas company Anadarko Petroleum Corp on Tuesday reported a drop in profit, but results topped Wall Street expectations as the oil and natural gas company improved drilling practices and produced more crude than expected.
Oil prices have tumbled about 40 percent from a year earlier, hit by worries about Chinese demand and fresh supply from Iran and mounting inventories.
In response, independent exploration and production companies including Anadarko have cut spending and focused on drilling cheaper, more efficient wells in shale basins.
"During the second quarter, we delivered more than 18,000 barrels per day of higher-margin oil sales volumes above our guidance, driven by continued improvements in productivity and ongoing operating efficiencies," said Anadarko Chairman, President and CEO Al Walker.
Anadarko said it increased oil sales by about 30 percent year over year when adjusting for asset sales. The gains were driven by crude from shale fields in Colorado and Texas.
Operating improvements have boosted the company's cash margins, allowing Anadarko to drill more than 100 additional wells this year, the company said.
The Houston company had a quarterly profit of $61 million, or 12 cents per share, compared with a profit of $227 million, or 45 cents a share in the same period a year earlier.
Excluding one-time items related to hedging, Anadarko had a profit of 1 cent per share. Analysts on average had expected Anadarko to report a loss of 51 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Anadarko's daily sales volume of oil and natural gas was about flat compared with a year earlier at 846,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boepd).
Anadarko also said it liquefied natural gas project in Mozambique continues to advance and contractors have been chosen for initial development of onshore facilities.
Shares in Anadarko were flat at $72.85 in trade after the market's closing bell. In regular trading on the New York Stock Exchange, shares shot up more than 4 percent.
(Reporting by Anna Driver; Editing by Chris Reese and David Gregorio)
Copyright 2016 Thomson Reuters. Click for Restrictions.
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