Apache Reports Record 1Q Earnings of $1.06 Per Share

Apache Corporation (NYSE, Nasdaq: APA) reported record first-quarter 2004 earnings of $348 million, or $1.06 per diluted common share, up from the previous record established in the first quarter of 2003 of $338 million, or $1.05 per share, which included $27 million, or 8 cents per share, for the cumulative effect of a change in accounting principle.

Apache's results benefited from a 23 percent increase in daily production over the prior-year period and strong commodity prices. Apache's per-share results have been adjusted to reflect the two-for-one common stock split distributed in January 2004.

Cash from operations before changes in operating assets and liabilities totaled $737 million, up from $645 million in the year-earlier period.

Apache's debt-to-capitalization ratio declined to 24.2 percent at the end of the quarter, from 26.3 percent at year-end 2003.

"Higher production and strong commodity prices drove our record first- quarter financial results," said G. Steven Farris, president, chief executive officer and chief operating officer.

Strong prices for oil and gas also are driving the acquisition market for producing properties continually higher, Farris said. "We remain committed to long-term profitable growth; although we are always looking for acquisitions which have the potential to bring added value, in the current environment, we intend to continue our active drilling program and to be patient.

"During the first quarter, we completed 422 wells worldwide compared to just 156 a year ago. We were active in each of our core areas, and this activity should benefit our financial results in future quarters," Farris said.

Apache's first-quarter production averaged 430,400 barrels of oil equivalent (boe) per day, up from 348,600 boe per day in the prior-year period. Liquid hydrocarbon production averaged 228,300 barrels per day, up 37 percent, while natural gas production averaged 1.2 billion cubic feet per day, up 11 percent.

Apache received $30.44 per barrel of oil during the first quarter, down slightly from $30.67 in the prior-year period; $23.83 per barrel for natural gas liquids, compared with $24.42 per barrel; and $4.77 per thousand cubic feet (Mcf) of gas, down from $5.29 per Mcf.