Noble Affiliates Announces Record Earnings and Revenues for First Quarter of 2001

Apr 23, 2001, 01:00 ET from Noble Affiliates, Inc.

    HOUSTON, April 23 /PRNewswire Interactive News Release/ -- Noble
 Affiliates, Inc. (NYSE:   NBL) today announced record net income of $106
 million, or $1.88 per share, for the first quarter of 2001, a substantial
 increase over the $27 million, or 48 cents per share, earned in the same
 quarter a year ago.  Revenues for the 2001 first quarter totaled $561 million,
 more than double the revenues of $272 million recorded in the same period of
 the prior year.
     The company said the improved results reflect higher commodity prices,
 particularly in the natural gas sector, and continuing strong production
 levels.
     Noble's gas prices averaged $6.80 per thousand cubic feet in the 2001
 first quarter, up 175 percent over the average price of $2.47 in the 2000
 first quarter.  Oil prices averaged $24.93 per barrel in the first quarter of
 2001, a gain of 6 percent from the average price of $23.55 received in the
 same quarter of last year.
     Discretionary cash flow for the 2001 first quarter was $216 million, up
 120 percent from the same period in 2000.
     Production during the first quarter of 2001 totaled approximately 97.1
 thousand barrels of oil equivalent per day, an increase of about 1 percent
 over the fourth quarter 2000 production of approximately 96.3 thousand barrels
 of oil equivalent per day.  Total first quarter 2000 production was
 approximately 96.6 thousand barrels of oil equivalent per day.
     The company said it has been successful in continuing its production
 growth momentum, which began with the third quarter of 2000.  In particular,
 oil production growth, most notably in the North Sea and Equatorial Guinea,
 during the first quarter 2001 has been strong, increasing almost 9 percent
 over the average annual year 2000 production levels.  This growth was
 complemented by almost 2 percent growth in natural gas production in the first
 quarter 2001, compared with the average annual production of natural gas for
 the year 2000.
     Charles D. Davidson, Noble's president and chief executive officer, said,
 "The strong commodity price environment continues to drive record earnings and
 cash flow.  More importantly, we have continued to maintain our momentum in
 production growth while achieving significant milestones for our major
 international projects.  The startup of the methanol plant in Equatorial
 Guinea during the second quarter will be a significant step in our progress
 towards future growth, as is the announcement this quarter that we and our
 partners have been selected to provide significant gas supplies to Israel."
     During the 2001 first quarter, the company announced its first operated
 deepwater commercial discovery in the Gulf of Mexico on the Lost Ark prospect
 in East Breaks Block 421 and a natural gas and condensate discovery with its
 exploratory Estrella #1 well offshore the Republic of Equatorial Guinea in
 West Africa.  Estrella is still under developmental evaluation by the
 partners.  The company also has had some encouraging initial results from the
 second well drilled in China's Pearl River Basin.  The company's first quarter
 drilling program was very active with the company participating in
 approximately 60 wells, of which 46 were successful resulting in an overall
 drilling success rate in excess of 75 percent.
     Reflecting a continuation of the high level of activity experienced in the
 fourth quarter of 2000, the company's oil and gas exploration expenses in the
 2001 first quarter were approximately $38 million, compared with $16 million
 in the same period of 2000.  Approximately $31 million of the expense was in
 dry hole costs, which included Cat Creek in Oklahoma, Tintagel in the North
 Sea, Crete in the Gulf of Mexico, and Leufeng in China's Pearl River Basin.
     The company had a very successful Central Gulf OCS sale where it was the
 apparent high bidder on 33 blocks, which included 19 blocks in deepwater.  The
 company believes these prospects will strengthen the company's position in the
 deepwater and enhance its shelf portfolio.
 
     Outlook
     The company estimates that total production for the full year will average
 between 100 thousand and 104 thousand barrels of oil equivalent per day.  For
 the full year 2001, natural gas production is projected to average between
 430 million and 440 million cubic feet per day, while oil production is
 expected to average between 28.5 thousand and 30.5 thousand barrels per day.
 
                        2nd Quarter 2001            Full Year 2001
     BOEPD                  Estimate                   Estimate
 
     US                 81,000 - 82,500            82,000 - 83,000
     Eq Guinea           7,500 -  8,000             7,750 -  9,000
     United Kingdom      6,000 -  7,000             7,750 -  9,000
     Other Int'l         2,500 -  3,000             2,500 -  3,000
 
     Exploration expense is estimated to continue in the range of $30 million
 to $40 million for the second quarter.  For the full year 2001, exploration
 expense is estimated to range between $130 million and $140 million.  Actual
 exploration expense will vary from quarter to quarter based on timing and
 results of wells drilled.
     Noble's capital budget has been revised to $727 million to reflect recent
 success in the OCS lease sale and to take advantage of additional drilling
 opportunities.
     The lease operating costs for the full year should average between
 $3.50 and $3.80 per barrel of oil equivalent, the company said.  However,
 production taxes, which are included in the lease operating expenses, will
 vary significantly with commodity price movements and these movements cannot
 be predicted.  Depreciation, depletion and amortization is estimated to
 average for the full year 2001 between $7.00 and $7.25 per barrel of oil
 equivalent.
     Noble Affiliates, Inc. is an independent energy company with exploration
 and production operations throughout major basins in the United States,
 including the Gulf of Mexico, as well as international operations primarily in
 Argentina, China, Ecuador, Equatorial Guinea, the Mediterranean Sea, the North
 Sea and Vietnam.
 
     This news release includes "forward-looking statements" within the meaning
 of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and the Securities Exchange Act of
 1934, as amended.  All statements other than statements of historical fact
 included in this news release, including, without limitation, estimates of
 production and reserves, and statements of business prospects, objectives and
 strategies, are forward-looking statements.  Important factors that could
 cause the actual results of Noble Affiliates to differ materially from those
 indicated by the forward-looking statements include, without limitation, the
 volatility in commodity prices for oil and gas, the actual presence or
 recoverability of estimated reserves, the ability to replace reserves,
 environmental risks, drilling and other operating risks, risks related to
 exploration and development, competition, government regulation or action, the
 ability of management to execute its operating plans to meet stated business
 goals and other risks inherent in Noble Affiliates' business that are detailed
 in its Securities and Exchange Commission filings.
 
                    NOBLE AFFILIATES, INC. AND SUBSIDIARIES
                        CONSOLIDATED SUMMARY OF RESULTS
                  (Unaudited) (In thousands, except per share)
 
                                                 THREE MONTHS ENDED
                                                3-31-01      3-31-00
     REVENUES
     Oil and Gas Sales and Royalties           $316,346     $151,003
     Gathering, Marketing and Processing        243,621      117,869
     Income Unconsolidated Subsidiary               297          411
     Other Income                                   751        2,478
 
                                                561,015      271,761
 
     COSTS AND EXPENSES
     Oil and Gas Operations                      33,893       26,165
     Oil and Gas Exploration                     38,514       15,991
     Gathering, Marketing and Processing        240,030      114,183
     Depreciation, Depletion and
       Amortization                              64,243       51,558
     Selling, General and Administrative         11,790       11,971
     Interest Expense                            10,449        9,622
     Interest Capitalized                        (2,887)      (1,081)
 
                                                396,032      228,409
 
     INCOME BEFORE INCOME TAXES                 164,983       43,352
 
     INCOME TAXES
     Current                                     48,782       11,326
     Deferred                                    10,291        5,146
 
                                                 59,073       16,472
 
     NET INCOME                                $105,910     $ 26,880
 
 
     Net Income Per Share                      $   1.88     $    .48
     Average Shares Outstanding                  56,320       56,396
 
     DISCRETIONARY CASH FLOW
     (In thousands)
 
     Net Income                                $105,910     $ 26,880
     Depreciation, Depletion and
        Amortization                             64,243       51,558
     Oil and Gas Exploration                     38,514       15,991
     Interest Capitalized                        (2,887)      (1,081)
     Deferred Income Tax                         10,291        5,146
 
     DISCRETIONARY CASH FLOW                   $216,071     $ 98,494
 
 
      CONSOLIDATED CONDENSED BALANCE SHEET
      (In thousands)
                                                3-31-01     12-31-00
     ASSETS
      Current assets                           $262,231     $271,261
      Property, plant and equipment           3,397,917    3,256,467
      Less: accumulated depreciation         (1,835,825)  (1,771,344)
                                              1,562,092    1,485,123
      Investment in unconsolidated
        subsidiary                               94,496       74,159
      Other                                      59,837       48,737
 
                                             $1,978,656   $1,879,280
 
     LIABILITIES AND SHAREHOLDERS' EQUITY
      Current liabilities                    $  361,146   $  325,418
      Long-term debt                            455,538      525,494
      Deferred income taxes, other deferred
        credits and noncurrent liabilities      191,546      178,686
      Shareholders' equity                      970,426      849,682
 
                                             $1,978,656   $1,879,280
 
      SUPPLEMENTAL INFORMATION
      (In thousands)               THREE MONTHS ENDED     TWELVE MONTHS ENDED
                                  3-31-01      3-31-00   12-31-00     12-31-99
 
     Lease operating             $ 32,130     $ 25,484   $115,072     $112,997
     Production tax                 3,178        1,926     10,264        6,679
     Other                         (1,415)      (1,245)    (3,470)      (2,978)
 
     Oil and Gas Operations      $ 33,893     $ 26,165   $121,866     $116,698
 
     Dry hole                    $ 30,902     $  7,919   $ 38,463     $ 19,204
     Undeveloped lease
       amortization                 2,965        2,377     16,075        9,645
     Abandoned assets                 101           (9)     3,375        2,483
     Seismic                          673        4,510     18,738        7,797
     Other                          3,873        1,194     11,592        7,654
 
     Oil and Gas Exploration     $ 38,514     $ 15,991   $ 88,243     $ 46,783
 
     OPERATING STATISTICS
     Oil Sales (In Thousands)    $ 61,472     $ 54,603   $224,198     $174,868
     Average Daily Oil Bbls        28,124       26,167     25,805       30,003
     Average Oil Price per Bbl   $  24.93     $  23.55   $  24.37     $  16.29
     Gas Sales (In Thousands)    $248,151     $ 91,994   $549,878     $359,839
     Average Daily Gas Mcfs       413,614      422,360    406,319      455,100
     Average Gas Price per Mcf   $   6.80     $   2.47   $   3.77     $   2.23
 
     BBLS = barrels
     MCFS = thousand cubic feet
 
 
      PRODUCTION AND PRICING DATA
                                                      THREE MONTHS ENDED
                                                     3-31-01      3-31-00
 
     NATURAL GAS VOLUME - Mcf per day
      United States                                  385,157      391,602
      Equatorial Guinea                                5,587        1,928
      Argentina                                        1,414        1,395
      United Kingdom                                  21,456       27,435
     Total                                           413,614      422,360
 
     AVERAGE NATURAL GAS PRICE PER MCF
      United States                                 $   7.10     $   2.53
      Equatorial Guinea                             $    .23     $    .25
      Argentina                                     $    .92     $    .97
      United Kingdom                                $   3.64     $   1.93
 
     OIL VOLUME - Barrels per day
      United States                                   18,320       19,588
      Equatorial Guinea                                3,730        2,215
      Argentina                                        2,672        2,448
      United Kingdom                                   3,402        1,916
     Total                                            28,124       26,167
 
     AVERAGE OIL PRICE PER BARREL
      United States                                 $  25.82     $  22.83
      Equatorial Guinea                             $  25.05     $  23.50
      Argentina                                     $  21.74     $  24.61
      United Kingdom                                $  22.56     $  20.48
 
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SOURCE Noble Affiliates, Inc.
    HOUSTON, April 23 /PRNewswire Interactive News Release/ -- Noble
 Affiliates, Inc. (NYSE:   NBL) today announced record net income of $106
 million, or $1.88 per share, for the first quarter of 2001, a substantial
 increase over the $27 million, or 48 cents per share, earned in the same
 quarter a year ago.  Revenues for the 2001 first quarter totaled $561 million,
 more than double the revenues of $272 million recorded in the same period of
 the prior year.
     The company said the improved results reflect higher commodity prices,
 particularly in the natural gas sector, and continuing strong production
 levels.
     Noble's gas prices averaged $6.80 per thousand cubic feet in the 2001
 first quarter, up 175 percent over the average price of $2.47 in the 2000
 first quarter.  Oil prices averaged $24.93 per barrel in the first quarter of
 2001, a gain of 6 percent from the average price of $23.55 received in the
 same quarter of last year.
     Discretionary cash flow for the 2001 first quarter was $216 million, up
 120 percent from the same period in 2000.
     Production during the first quarter of 2001 totaled approximately 97.1
 thousand barrels of oil equivalent per day, an increase of about 1 percent
 over the fourth quarter 2000 production of approximately 96.3 thousand barrels
 of oil equivalent per day.  Total first quarter 2000 production was
 approximately 96.6 thousand barrels of oil equivalent per day.
     The company said it has been successful in continuing its production
 growth momentum, which began with the third quarter of 2000.  In particular,
 oil production growth, most notably in the North Sea and Equatorial Guinea,
 during the first quarter 2001 has been strong, increasing almost 9 percent
 over the average annual year 2000 production levels.  This growth was
 complemented by almost 2 percent growth in natural gas production in the first
 quarter 2001, compared with the average annual production of natural gas for
 the year 2000.
     Charles D. Davidson, Noble's president and chief executive officer, said,
 "The strong commodity price environment continues to drive record earnings and
 cash flow.  More importantly, we have continued to maintain our momentum in
 production growth while achieving significant milestones for our major
 international projects.  The startup of the methanol plant in Equatorial
 Guinea during the second quarter will be a significant step in our progress
 towards future growth, as is the announcement this quarter that we and our
 partners have been selected to provide significant gas supplies to Israel."
     During the 2001 first quarter, the company announced its first operated
 deepwater commercial discovery in the Gulf of Mexico on the Lost Ark prospect
 in East Breaks Block 421 and a natural gas and condensate discovery with its
 exploratory Estrella #1 well offshore the Republic of Equatorial Guinea in
 West Africa.  Estrella is still under developmental evaluation by the
 partners.  The company also has had some encouraging initial results from the
 second well drilled in China's Pearl River Basin.  The company's first quarter
 drilling program was very active with the company participating in
 approximately 60 wells, of which 46 were successful resulting in an overall
 drilling success rate in excess of 75 percent.
     Reflecting a continuation of the high level of activity experienced in the
 fourth quarter of 2000, the company's oil and gas exploration expenses in the
 2001 first quarter were approximately $38 million, compared with $16 million
 in the same period of 2000.  Approximately $31 million of the expense was in
 dry hole costs, which included Cat Creek in Oklahoma, Tintagel in the North
 Sea, Crete in the Gulf of Mexico, and Leufeng in China's Pearl River Basin.
     The company had a very successful Central Gulf OCS sale where it was the
 apparent high bidder on 33 blocks, which included 19 blocks in deepwater.  The
 company believes these prospects will strengthen the company's position in the
 deepwater and enhance its shelf portfolio.
 
     Outlook
     The company estimates that total production for the full year will average
 between 100 thousand and 104 thousand barrels of oil equivalent per day.  For
 the full year 2001, natural gas production is projected to average between
 430 million and 440 million cubic feet per day, while oil production is
 expected to average between 28.5 thousand and 30.5 thousand barrels per day.
 
                        2nd Quarter 2001            Full Year 2001
     BOEPD                  Estimate                   Estimate
 
     US                 81,000 - 82,500            82,000 - 83,000
     Eq Guinea           7,500 -  8,000             7,750 -  9,000
     United Kingdom      6,000 -  7,000             7,750 -  9,000
     Other Int'l         2,500 -  3,000             2,500 -  3,000
 
     Exploration expense is estimated to continue in the range of $30 million
 to $40 million for the second quarter.  For the full year 2001, exploration
 expense is estimated to range between $130 million and $140 million.  Actual
 exploration expense will vary from quarter to quarter based on timing and
 results of wells drilled.
     Noble's capital budget has been revised to $727 million to reflect recent
 success in the OCS lease sale and to take advantage of additional drilling
 opportunities.
     The lease operating costs for the full year should average between
 $3.50 and $3.80 per barrel of oil equivalent, the company said.  However,
 production taxes, which are included in the lease operating expenses, will
 vary significantly with commodity price movements and these movements cannot
 be predicted.  Depreciation, depletion and amortization is estimated to
 average for the full year 2001 between $7.00 and $7.25 per barrel of oil
 equivalent.
     Noble Affiliates, Inc. is an independent energy company with exploration
 and production operations throughout major basins in the United States,
 including the Gulf of Mexico, as well as international operations primarily in
 Argentina, China, Ecuador, Equatorial Guinea, the Mediterranean Sea, the North
 Sea and Vietnam.
 
     This news release includes "forward-looking statements" within the meaning
 of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and the Securities Exchange Act of
 1934, as amended.  All statements other than statements of historical fact
 included in this news release, including, without limitation, estimates of
 production and reserves, and statements of business prospects, objectives and
 strategies, are forward-looking statements.  Important factors that could
 cause the actual results of Noble Affiliates to differ materially from those
 indicated by the forward-looking statements include, without limitation, the
 volatility in commodity prices for oil and gas, the actual presence or
 recoverability of estimated reserves, the ability to replace reserves,
 environmental risks, drilling and other operating risks, risks related to
 exploration and development, competition, government regulation or action, the
 ability of management to execute its operating plans to meet stated business
 goals and other risks inherent in Noble Affiliates' business that are detailed
 in its Securities and Exchange Commission filings.
 
                    NOBLE AFFILIATES, INC. AND SUBSIDIARIES
                        CONSOLIDATED SUMMARY OF RESULTS
                  (Unaudited) (In thousands, except per share)
 
                                                 THREE MONTHS ENDED
                                                3-31-01      3-31-00
     REVENUES
     Oil and Gas Sales and Royalties           $316,346     $151,003
     Gathering, Marketing and Processing        243,621      117,869
     Income Unconsolidated Subsidiary               297          411
     Other Income                                   751        2,478
 
                                                561,015      271,761
 
     COSTS AND EXPENSES
     Oil and Gas Operations                      33,893       26,165
     Oil and Gas Exploration                     38,514       15,991
     Gathering, Marketing and Processing        240,030      114,183
     Depreciation, Depletion and
       Amortization                              64,243       51,558
     Selling, General and Administrative         11,790       11,971
     Interest Expense                            10,449        9,622
     Interest Capitalized                        (2,887)      (1,081)
 
                                                396,032      228,409
 
     INCOME BEFORE INCOME TAXES                 164,983       43,352
 
     INCOME TAXES
     Current                                     48,782       11,326
     Deferred                                    10,291        5,146
 
                                                 59,073       16,472
 
     NET INCOME                                $105,910     $ 26,880
 
 
     Net Income Per Share                      $   1.88     $    .48
     Average Shares Outstanding                  56,320       56,396
 
     DISCRETIONARY CASH FLOW
     (In thousands)
 
     Net Income                                $105,910     $ 26,880
     Depreciation, Depletion and
        Amortization                             64,243       51,558
     Oil and Gas Exploration                     38,514       15,991
     Interest Capitalized                        (2,887)      (1,081)
     Deferred Income Tax                         10,291        5,146
 
     DISCRETIONARY CASH FLOW                   $216,071     $ 98,494
 
 
      CONSOLIDATED CONDENSED BALANCE SHEET
      (In thousands)
                                                3-31-01     12-31-00
     ASSETS
      Current assets                           $262,231     $271,261
      Property, plant and equipment           3,397,917    3,256,467
      Less: accumulated depreciation         (1,835,825)  (1,771,344)
                                              1,562,092    1,485,123
      Investment in unconsolidated
        subsidiary                               94,496       74,159
      Other                                      59,837       48,737
 
                                             $1,978,656   $1,879,280
 
     LIABILITIES AND SHAREHOLDERS' EQUITY
      Current liabilities                    $  361,146   $  325,418
      Long-term debt                            455,538      525,494
      Deferred income taxes, other deferred
        credits and noncurrent liabilities      191,546      178,686
      Shareholders' equity                      970,426      849,682
 
                                             $1,978,656   $1,879,280
 
      SUPPLEMENTAL INFORMATION
      (In thousands)               THREE MONTHS ENDED     TWELVE MONTHS ENDED
                                  3-31-01      3-31-00   12-31-00     12-31-99
 
     Lease operating             $ 32,130     $ 25,484   $115,072     $112,997
     Production tax                 3,178        1,926     10,264        6,679
     Other                         (1,415)      (1,245)    (3,470)      (2,978)
 
     Oil and Gas Operations      $ 33,893     $ 26,165   $121,866     $116,698
 
     Dry hole                    $ 30,902     $  7,919   $ 38,463     $ 19,204
     Undeveloped lease
       amortization                 2,965        2,377     16,075        9,645
     Abandoned assets                 101           (9)     3,375        2,483
     Seismic                          673        4,510     18,738        7,797
     Other                          3,873        1,194     11,592        7,654
 
     Oil and Gas Exploration     $ 38,514     $ 15,991   $ 88,243     $ 46,783
 
     OPERATING STATISTICS
     Oil Sales (In Thousands)    $ 61,472     $ 54,603   $224,198     $174,868
     Average Daily Oil Bbls        28,124       26,167     25,805       30,003
     Average Oil Price per Bbl   $  24.93     $  23.55   $  24.37     $  16.29
     Gas Sales (In Thousands)    $248,151     $ 91,994   $549,878     $359,839
     Average Daily Gas Mcfs       413,614      422,360    406,319      455,100
     Average Gas Price per Mcf   $   6.80     $   2.47   $   3.77     $   2.23
 
     BBLS = barrels
     MCFS = thousand cubic feet
 
 
      PRODUCTION AND PRICING DATA
                                                      THREE MONTHS ENDED
                                                     3-31-01      3-31-00
 
     NATURAL GAS VOLUME - Mcf per day
      United States                                  385,157      391,602
      Equatorial Guinea                                5,587        1,928
      Argentina                                        1,414        1,395
      United Kingdom                                  21,456       27,435
     Total                                           413,614      422,360
 
     AVERAGE NATURAL GAS PRICE PER MCF
      United States                                 $   7.10     $   2.53
      Equatorial Guinea                             $    .23     $    .25
      Argentina                                     $    .92     $    .97
      United Kingdom                                $   3.64     $   1.93
 
     OIL VOLUME - Barrels per day
      United States                                   18,320       19,588
      Equatorial Guinea                                3,730        2,215
      Argentina                                        2,672        2,448
      United Kingdom                                   3,402        1,916
     Total                                            28,124       26,167
 
     AVERAGE OIL PRICE PER BARREL
      United States                                 $  25.82     $  22.83
      Equatorial Guinea                             $  25.05     $  23.50
      Argentina                                     $  21.74     $  24.61
      United Kingdom                                $  22.56     $  20.48
 
                     MAKE YOUR OPINION COUNT -  Click Here
                http://tbutton.prnewswire.com/prn/11690X86567147
 
 SOURCE  Noble Affiliates, Inc.