UPDATE 1-Weak natgas prices hurt Apache profit

Thu Nov 1, 2012 8:48am EDT
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Nov 1 (Reuters) - Apache Corp's quarterly profit fell for the third time in a row as the oil and gas producer wrote down the value of its Canadian properties because of weakness in natural gas prices.

U.S. natural gas prices plunged from a peak of about$5 per million British thermal units in 2011, to a decade-low of $1.90 earlier this year, due to an oversupply and weaker demand.

Despite depressed prices, Apache's natural gas production increased marginally to 2.28 billion cubic feet per day. This at a time when most energy companies are aggressively looking to cut gas volumes and are shifting to oil-rich production.

Net income fell to $161 million, or 41 cents per share, in the third quarter, from $983 million, or $2.50 per share, a year earlier.

The company recorded a $539 million non-cash, after-tax write-down in the quarter. Excluding the charge and other items, Apache earned $2.16 per share.

Revenue fell 3 percent to $4.18 billion. Apache's third-quarter production was 771,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day, up 2.4 percent.

Analysts on average had expected Apache to earn $2.26 per share, on revenue of $4.06 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Shares of Apache, which has a market value of about $32.3 billion, closed at $82.75 on the New York Stock Exchange on Wednesday.