(By Balachander) Apache Corp. (NYSE:APA) reported a decline in earnings for the first quarter, hit by charges to write down the value of Canadian natural gas properties because of lower North American natural gas prices. Shares lost 2.66 percent to $93.00 in early trade on Thursday.
Adjusted earnings per share (EPS) increased to $3.00 from $2.90, yet trailed market expectations of $3.09.
Net earnings fell to $778 million or $2.00 per share for the first quarter from $1.1 billion or $2.86 per share in the year-ago quarter. Quarterly results included the write down of $390 million of APA's Canadian properties.
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Revenue rose 16 percent to $4.54 billion, versus consensus estimate of $4.49 billion.
Global production rose to 769,000 barrels of oil equivalent (boe) per day from 732,000 boe per day in the same period of last year.
While North American natural gas price realizations fell 22 percent over the prior-year period, Apache's international regions, which represent 38 percent of its total gas volumes, saw prices rise 17 percent to $4.02 per Mcf, the company noted.
Looking ahead Apache expects overall production to continue to grow on strong drilling programs, including accelerated activity on the 312,000 newly acquired acres in the Anadarko Basin.
The company still sees production growth of 7 percent to 13 percent for 2012.
APA shares have been trading in the 52-week range between $73.04 and $129.26.