ConocoPhillips issued its second-quarter results Wednesday, posting a 33 percent slide in net income due to income lost as a result of spinning off its refinery business at the end of April. The company's stock slipped about 2.5 percent in Wednesday trading, even though the results were slightly ahead of analyst expectations. In the three months ended June 30th, the Houston, Texas oil producer earned $2.27 billion, or $1.80 per share, well below its year-earlier profit of $3.4 billion, or $2.41 a share. Excluding certain one-time items, earnings were $1.22 a share, sur0passing the consensus estimate of $1.17 a share expected by a group of analysts who took part in a recent Bloomberg survey.
Already a major producer of natural gas, ConocoPhillips is in the midst of an aggressive plan to increase oil production. The company has set an ambitious goal for itself of to increase production substantially enough to cover capital expenses and shareholder dividend payments by the end of 2016. In a conference call held to discuss the second-quarter results, the company's CFO Jeff Sheets noted that it is ahead of pace for that goal, and may achieve it by the end of next year if oil prices increase significantly again next summer.
As part of its plan, ConocoPhillips has already sold some $1.6 billion in assets so far this year in an effort to improve its balance sheet. By the time the shake-up concludes, Sheets noted, the company expects to realize proceeds of more than $8 billion through asset sales, likely by the middle of next year. The company's former refining arm, now an independent refining business dubbed Phillips 66, is scheduled to release its first quarterly numbers as an independent public company on August 1st.