ChevronTexaco Reports Net Income of $1.7 Billion

ChevronTexaco's fourth-quarter income rose 91%, led by higher prices for crude oil and natural gas, and improved margins.

In a press release Friday, the energy giant said income for the three months ended Dec. 31 rose to $1.74 billion, $1.63 a share, including a gain of $118 million from a tax adjustment; a gain of $71 million from asset dispositions; a charge of $60 million for employee severance; a charge of $40 million for asset- impairment by its Dynegy Inc. affiliate; and foreign-currency losses of $ 171 million.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call were expecting ChevronTexaco to earn $ 1.59 a share for the fourth quarter.

For the year-ago fourth quarter, ChevronTexaco earned $904,000 million, or 85 cents a share, including charges of $161 million and foreign-currency losses of $79 million. Fourth-quarter total sales rose about 13% to $30.47 billion from $27.06 billion. Sales and operating revenue, excluding income from equity affiliates, rose to $30.13 billion from $26.94 billion.

ChevronTexaco said it added about 1 billion oil-equivalent barrels of proved oil and gas reserves in 2003, including the results of contract extensions in Denmark and Colombia, domestic drilling activities, revisions from reservoir management activities and improved recovery processes in the U.S., Kazakhstan and Nigeria.

The company's domestic exploration and production, or upstream, income rose 42% to $721 million from $507 million, while international upstream income increased 14% to $848 million from $745 million last year.

In its upstream business, ChevronTexaco said average domestic crude oil and natural-gas liquids sales price rose about $2.60 a barrel to more than $26 a barrel in the fourth quarter. Average domestic natural gas price increased more than 20% to about $4.35 per thousand cubic feet.

Average liquids prices increased $1.70 a barrel to about $27 internationally, while the average price of natural gas rose 15% to about $2.70.

The company said a roughly 3% decline in worldwide oil-equivalent production from a year ago offset gains from higher oil and gas prices in the quarter.