Hess Profit Beats As Norwegian Output Jumps

Oil and natural gas producer Hess Corp reported a higher-than-expected quarterly profit on Wednesday, helped in part by a jump in Norwegian production.

The company, which is also a major operator in North Dakota's Bakken shale formation and the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, posted first-quarter net income of $386 million, or $1.20 per share, compared with $1.28 billion, or $3.72 per share, a year earlier.

Excluding one-time items, the company posted a profit of $1.38 per share.

By that measure, analysts on average expected earnings of $1.04 per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Hess produced 318,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day in the first quarter, down from 389,000 boed a year earlier.

The New York-based company sold some acreage as well as its refining and retail gasoline businesses in the first quarter of last year, artificially boosting that period's results.

Production jumped in the company's Valhall field in Norway to 37,000 boed from 5,000 boed in the same period last year due to a redevelopment project.

While North Dakota production fell in the first quarter as the company completed the expansion of its Tioga gas plant, the project is now finished, and Bakken production is currently in excess of 80,000 boed, Hess said.

Shares of Hess, which at Tuesday's close had gained about 6 percent so far this year, were up 2.2 percent at $90 in trading before the market opened.