Plains Exploration 4th-quarter net soars on higher oil revenue

2/21/2013

Plains Exploration 4th-quarter net soars on higher oil revenue

BY BEN FOX RUBIN 

HOUSTON -- Plains Exploration & Production Co.'s fourth-quarter profit soared as the oil-and-gas exploration company's oil revenue surged.

Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold in December agreed to buy McMoRan Exploration and Plains Exploration -- two oil companies with which it shares close ties -- for roughly $9 billion in cash and stock. The deal marked a shift for the mining giant towards U.S. energy exploration. The transactions are expected to close in the second quarter.

Plains has been shifting to higher-priced crude and natural gas liquids as natural gas prices have been languishing near record lows. The company recently agreed to buy BP's deepwater Gulf of Mexico oil and gas properties for $5.55 billion, in line with a strategy to focus on mature oil fields with existing reserves.

Plains reported income of $218.6 million, or $1.65 a share, up from $97.7 million, or 69 cents a share, a year earlier. Excluding unrealized gains on investment in McMoRan Exploration stock and other impacts, per-share earnings rose to 41 cents from 20 cents. Revenue was up 68% to $869.2 million.

Oil sales were up 91% at $798 million, while gas sales shrank 27% to $70.3 million.

Dow Jones Newswires

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