Hess Corp. widened its loss in the first quarter, though by less than Wall Street expected, as a sluggish energy sector continued to weigh results.
Hess, like most energy companies, had been hurt by the extended tumble in commodity prices, which again shaved Hess' top line in the latest quarter. But Hess also reported lower costs in the period versus the prior-year quarter.
For the period ended March 31, Hess said average selling prices for crude fell to $28.50 a barrel from $45.08 in the prior-year quarter. Selling prices for natural gas liquids plunged 50% to $7.44 a barrel.
Capital spending on exploration and production declined 56% from the prior year to $554 million.
Still, Chief Executive John Hess said the company was "well positioned to deliver strong cash flow growth and long-term value as oil prices recover."
Over all, Hess reported a loss of $509 million, or $1.72 a share, compared with a loss of $389 million, or 1.37 cents a share, a year earlier. Analysts had projected a loss of $1.83, according to Thomson Reuters.
Total revenue, which includes nonoperating income, fell 36% to $993 billion. Analysts had expected $1.02 billion in revenue.
Production declined 1.4% to 350,000 barrels of oil equivalent a day compared with $355,000 a year before.
Total costs and expenses declined 20% to $1.75 billion.
Shares of Hess were inactive in premarket trading. The stock has risen 72% in the past three months but is still down 16% from a year ago through Tuesday's close.
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