El Paso Earnings up 33% in 3Q 2007
El Paso reports third quarter 2007 earnings per share from continuing operations were up 33% -- $0.20 earnings per diluted share from continuing operations versus earnings of $0.15 in 2006. Pipeline earnings before interest expense and taxes (EBIT) and throughput up 9% and 4%, respectively, from third quarter 2006. E&P EBIT up 65% versus third quarter 2006. Production, including unconsolidated affiliate volumes, totaled 848 million cubic feet equivalent per day (MMcfe/d) -- a 5% increase over third quarter 2006. "This quarter continues our financial and operational success as our Pipelines and E&P businesses performed well,'" said Doug Foshee, El Paso's president and chief executive officer. '"During the quarter, we completed the Peoples acquisition, which added excellent staff and properties into our E&P operations. The quarter also included significant exploration success in Brazil. And three major pipeline projects, representing $1.2 billion of capital, received FERC approval as we have continued to expand our pipeline business. We also marked an important step in forming our pipeline MLP with the registration filing for El Paso Pipeline Partners."
Third quarter 2007 results from continuing operations include a $65-million, or $0.09 per diluted share, after-tax impairment of the company's interests in its Brazilian power assets due in part to ongoing developments in Brazil's electricity markets. Results also include a $49-million, or $0.07 per diluted share, after-tax gain related to the reversal of a liability related to The Coastal Corporation's legacy crude oil marketing and trading business; a $7-million, or $0.01 per diluted share, after-tax loss associated with the company's indemnification of Case Corporation retiree benefits; and a $10-million, or $0.01 per diluted share, after-tax gain related to the mark-to-market (MTM) impact of derivatives in our marketing segment intended to manage price risk on natural gas and oil production. Third quarter 2006 results include a comparable $43-million after-tax MTM gain. All after-tax amounts except the Brazilian power impairments were calculated using a 36-percent tax rate.
For the nine months ended September 30, 2007, El Paso reported net income available to common stockholders of $922 million, or $1.31 per diluted share, compared with $613 million, or $0.87 per diluted share, for the first nine months of 2006. In addition to the third quarter 2007 items mentioned above, results for 2007 include $674 million, or $0.96 per diluted share, of earnings that relate primarily to the gain on the sale of ANR and related assets. Results for 2007 also include a $184-million, or $0.26 per diluted share, after-tax charge related to early debt retirement costs and a $40-million, or $0.06 per diluted share, MTM after-tax loss on production-related derivatives in our marketing segment. During the same period in 2006, production-related derivatives generated a $164-million, or $0.24 per diluted share, MTM after-tax gain, and earnings from discontinued operations were $95 million, or $0.13 per diluted share. After-tax amounts were calculated using a 36-percent tax rate.
The Exploration and Production segment's EBIT for the three months ended September 30, 2007, was $232 million, compared with $141 million for the same period in 2006. The increase is primarily due to increased production and higher realized commodity prices, due primarily to hedging gains. Third quarter 2007 production volumes averaged 787 MMcfe/d, excluding unconsolidated affiliate volumes of 61 MMcfe/d. Third quarter 2006 production volumes averaged 744 MMcfe/d, excluding 66 MMcfe/d of unconsolidated affiliate volumes. The increase reflects successful drilling programs and acquisitions. Despite industry inflation, total per-unit cash operating costs decreased to an average of $1.77 per thousand cubic feet equivalent (Mcfe) in third quarter 2007, compared with $1.95 per Mcfe for the same 2006 period. The improvement is primarily a result of reduced production costs resulting from lower workover activity levels, partially offset by higher general and administrative costs.
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