Saturday, May 9, 2009

El Paso Natural Gas

HOUSTON (Reuters) - El Paso Corp (EP.N) posted better-than-expected results on realized gains on oil and natural gas hedges and pipeline growth, sending its shares soaring 11 percent.

Investors pushed the stock of the natural gas producer and pipeline company to the largest one-day gain in more than five months in morning trade on the New York Stock Exchange.

El Paso and other oil and gas companies have cut 2009 budgets and slowed drilling to help weather a more than 40 percent slide in natural gas prices. Even so, El Paso said its financial position is strong.

"We have maintained a strong liquidity position with more than sufficient liquidity to meet 2009 debt maturities, fund our 2009 capital program, and carry us well into 2010," Doug Foshee, El Paso's chief executive officer, said in a statement accompanying the results on Friday.

Larger price realizations for the company's exploration and production arm and stronger-than-expected results at its pipeline unit fueled the Wall Street beat, energy research firm Tudor Pickering Holt Securities & Co wrote in a note to clients.

El Paso, based in Houston, reported a net loss of $978 million or $1.41 per share, compared with a profit of $200 million, or 29 cents per share a year earlier.

But, excluding $1.3 billion, or $1.92 per share, in non-cash charges, El Paso posted adjusted earnings of 47 cents per share.

Analysts on average had expected 27 cents per share, according to Reuters Estimates. Continued...

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