Energy

ConocoPhillips Alaska’s profits rise with oil prices in first quarter

The top oil producer in Alaska reported a sharp jump in quarterly profits at the start of the year, as the Russia invasion of Ukraine has boosted oil prices.

ConocoPhillips Alaska on Thursday said it took home $584 million in its Alaska operations, about 29% higher than its net earnings in the final three months of last year.

Oil prices for North Slope crude shot above $100 a barrel in March, shortly after Russia invaded Ukraine. Such prices haven’t been seen since 2014, and they’re juicing producer profits.

Worldwide, ConocoPhillips earned $5.8 billion in the first quarter, more than doubling from the previous three months.

In Alaska, the company in March reduced oil production by a small amount following a natural gas leak at the CD1 drilling pad at the Alpine oil field. The company and state regulators are investigating the leak.

[Details emerge on potential cause of gas leak on Alaska’s North Slope]

ConocoPhillips Alaska produces about 180,000 barrels daily.

The company in Alaska paid taxes and royalties of $702 million during the first three months, with $524 million of that going to the state, according to a statement from the company.

The company is on track to make capital investments of $1 billion in Alaska this year, about the same as last year. It made $253 million in such investments in the first three months of the year, the company said.

“This investment in Alaska will bring new projects online and add new barrels of oil to the trans-Alaska pipeline,” said Erec Isaacson, president of ConocoPhillips Alaska.

The company earned $1.4 billion in Alaska last year, and launched new oil production in December at the Greater Mooses Tooth-2 drill site in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska.

It’s working to develop a large oil discovery in the federal reserve called Willow. A decision by a federal judge last year hindered progress at the project. The Biden administration is now conducting more environmental analysis of the project’s potential benefits and drawbacks.

ConocoPhillips has not made a final investment decision on Willow, which could cost $5 billion before oil flows. But the company has continued to move ahead with the project.

Talking with investors in an earnings call on Thursday, ConocoPhillips chief executive Ryan Lance said that Willow will produce oil at competitive costs, below $40 a barrel.

Alex DeMarban

Alex DeMarban is a longtime Alaska journalist who covers business, the oil and gas industries and general assignments. Reach him at 907-257-4317 or alex@adn.com.

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