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ConocoPhillips Posts Loss Of Nearly $3.5 Billion For Fourth Quarter Of 2015

Officials of the Houston-based company expect crude oil prices will remain weak into 2017.

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Houston-based ConocoPhillips suffered a loss of $3.45 billion in the fourth quarter of last year. That brought the oil and gas company's total losses for 2015 to $4.4 billion dollars.

Low crude oil prices pummeled ConocoPhillips all through last year. In a conference call with investors, chairman and CEO Ryan Lance predicted another rough year ahead.

"Just a few months ago, we thought the market would rebalance by the second half of 2016," Lance said. "Now it looks like that could stretch into 2017."

Many oil and gas producers took on excessive debt when crude prices were high. Chief Financial Officer Jeff Sheets says credit rating agencies are now preparing to deal a fresh blow to the sector.

"We should see industrywide credit downgrades over the next couple of months, with the potential for multi-notch downgrades in some cases," Sheets said. "Across the industry, this is going to result in reduced debt capacity within given rating bands compared to just a few months ago."

In response to that risk, ConocoPhillips announced it will cut capital spending for the coming year to $6.4 billion, down from $10.1 billion last year. It's also slashed its dividend to just 25 cents per share.

 

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Andrew Schneider

Andrew Schneider

Politics and Government Reporter

Andrew Schneider is the senior reporter for politics and government at Houston Public Media, NPR's affiliate station in Houston, Texas. In this capacity, he heads the station's coverage of national, state, and local elections. He also reports on major policy issues before the Texas Legislature and county and city governments...

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