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    ConocoPhillips Profits Up 54 Percent

    Oil rival Amerada Hess's net income up $32 million from last year.

    HOUSTON -- ConocoPhillips, the nation's third-largest oil company, reported a 54 percent jump in third-quarter profits as it benefited from high oil and natural gas prices, reported the Associated Press.

    ConocoPhillips said Wednesday that it earned $2.01 billion for the July-September period, up from $1.31 billion a year ago. Revenues for the quarter were $34.7 billion compared to $26.5 billion during the same period a year ago.

    ConocoPhillips said the earnings increase was primarily due to higher crude oil and natural gas prices. It said reduced production was offset by sales volumes, which exceeded production by 19,000 barrels per day. Reduced benefits from tax law changes in the second quarter and reduced foreign exchange gains during the third quarter offset the increased earnings, the Houston-based company said.

    It also said third-quarter results reflected pretax exploration costs, totaling $205 million. Those costs included the write-off of the Zafar-Mashal well and some leasehold impairments.

    During the first nine months of 2004, ConocoPhillips earned $5.70 billion, up from $3.71 billion, during the first nine months of 2003. Revenue rose to $96.8 billion from $79.1 billion a year ago.

    In other oil news, Amerada Hess Corp. reported net income of $178 million for the third quarter of 2004 compared with income of $146 million for the third quarter of 2003.

    Exploration and production earnings were $155 million in the third quarter, compared with $124 million in the third quarter of 2003. The corporation's oil and gas production, on a barrel-of-oil equivalent basis, was 323,000 barrels per day in the third quarter, a decrease of 5 percent from the third quarter of 2003. Hess's average worldwide crude oil selling price, including the effect of hedging, was $26.59 per barrel, an increase of $1.94 per barrel from the third quarter of 2003.

    Quarterly refining and marketing earnings were $85 million, compared with $89 million in the third quarter of 2003. The decrease is primarily due to lower earnings from energy marketing activities and retail gasoline station operations.

    Capital expenditures in the third quarter amounted to $356 million, of which $338 million was related to exploration and production activities. Capital expenditures amounted to $307 million, including $298 million for exploration and production.

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