UPDATE 1-Oil hedges help Noble Energy beat fourth-quarter profit forecast

jueves 19 de febrero de 2015 13:26 GYT

(Updates with hedging details)

HOUSTON Feb 19 (Reuters) - Oil and gas producer Noble Energy Inc. posted fourth-quarter net income of $402 million, or $1.05 per diluted share, on Thursday, as a big gain on hedges helped it beat forecasts even as revenue dipped on the decline in crude prices.

It reported $134 million in net income, or 37 cents per diluted share, in the same quarter in 2013.

Revenue slipped to $1.07 billion in the latest quarter from $1.33 billion a year ago, while sales volumes rose to 315,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boed) from 293,000 boed in the year-ago period.

Houston-based Noble said it had non-cash gains from commodity derivatives of about $778 million in its latest quarter.

Excluding the hedges and other items, fourth-quarter adjusted net income was $156 million, or 38 cents per diluted share. That was higher than the Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S forecast of 34 cents per diluted share.

Noble said it has about 73,000 barrels per day in total crude oil volume hedged for 2015 through the purchase of a combination of fixed swaps, two-way and three-way collars on U.S. crude futures and Dated Brent.

It has 5,000 bpd hedged in two-way collars for U.S. crude at an average of $50 a barrel for the floor and $64.94 a barrel for the ceiling. The two-way collars are active from March 1 through Dec. 31, it said.

While the company has locked in prices higher than current U.S. crude futures prices, it uses the two-way collars to protect against the downside and set a price floor above the cost of production. They do not necessarily imply expectations of higher prices.   Continuación...