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Noble Energy Swings To Profit - Update

Noble Energy Inc. (NBL), Thursday reported a swing to fourth-quarter profit, as a strong jump in production helped boost revenues, while results for the prior-year period were hurt by hefty impairment charges.

Quarterly sales volume from continuing operations averaged 255,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day, or Boe/d, up 18 percent from last year, after adjusting for assets divested in 2012. The company said that volumes at DJ Basin volumes increased to 86,000 Boe/d, up 15 percent from last year.

The sales volume split for the quarter was 47 percent liquids, 24 percent international natural gas, and 29 percent U.S. natural gas.

US volumes jumped 31 percent, and International volumes were up 9 percent.

Houston, Texas-based Noble reported fourth-quarter net income of $251 million or $1.39 per share, compared with a net loss of $296 million or $1.67 per share last year.

Results for the prior-year quarter included impairment charges of $620 million and derivative losses of $162 million.

Excluding items, adjusted earnings from continuing operations for the quarter were $296 million or $1.65 per share, compared with $277 million or $1.55 per share in the prior year.

On average, 29 analysts polled by Thomson Reuters estimated earnings of $1.14 per share for the quarter. Analysts' estimates typically exclude one-time items.

Revenues for the quarter jumped to $1.2 billion from $897 million a year ago. Analysts on consensus estimated revenues of $1.1 billion for the quarter.

The company expects to produce 238,000 Boe to 242,000 Boe per day in the first quarter. For fiscal year 2013, the company's volume guidance remains unchanged at 270,000 to 282,000 Boe per day.

Noble Energy is trading at $112.07, down 1.10%, on a volume of 0.51 million shares on the NYSE.

by RTT Staff Writer

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