3 MIN. DE LECTURA
* 4th-quarter adjusted profit $1.57/share vs est.$1.79
* Output down 14 percent at 688,000 boepd
Feb 13 (Reuters) - Oil and gas company Apache Corp reported a bigger-than-expected fall in fourth-quarter profit as its output declined sharply due to asset sales and a frigid winter in the United States.
Apache said on Wednesday that it agreed to sell all of its operations in Argentina to state-controlled energy company YPF for $800 million.
Apache, which also operates in Egypt, Australia and the North Sea, had set an asset sale target of $4 billion for 2013.
The company said that its plan to shed less profitable properties had generated $7 billion in the last two quarters alone.
Apache said last July that it was selling its Gulf of Mexico shelf assets to private equity firm Riverstone Holdings LLC for $3.75 billion, and followed that up by selling a third of its operations in Egypt to China Petrochemical Corp in a $3.1 billion deal.
Apache, like other oil and gas producers, is streamlining its asset base and focusing on the most profitable fields to boost share price and shore up its balance sheet.
"Management continues to make the right strategic moves by refocusing portfolio and directing capital to highest rate of return assets," analysts at investment bank Tudor, Pickering, Holt & Co wrote in a note to clients.
Apache, in line with rivals Hess Corp and Chesapeake Energy Corp, is shifting its focus to high-growth North American liquids-rich fields.
Production from Apache's operations in the Permian Basin and Central U.S. regions accounted for a third of the company's global output in the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31.
Total output averaged 688,000 barrels oil equivalent per day (boepd) in the quarter, much lower than last year's 800,005 boepd.
Apache warned of weak fourth-quarter output in January, saying that a severe winter had hurt production at its operations in Oklahoma, Texas and New Mexico.
The company's net profit fell to $174 million, or 43 cents per share per share in the fourth quarter, from $649 million, or $1.64 per share, a year earlier.
Adjusted earnings were $1.57 per share. Revenue fell 19 percent to $3.57 billion.
Analysts on average were expecting a profit of $1.79, on revenue of $3.67 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Apache's shares closed at $81.28 on Wednesday on the New York Stock Exchange. The stock has fallen 4 percent in the past year.