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Apache profits decimated by weak gas prices

US oil firm Apache’s financial results were dented by “very weak” natural gas prices in the first half of 2019.

Pre-tax profits were almost completely wiped out, totalling £10.7 million in the first six months of the year, compared to £738m in 2018.

Revenues dropped 12% to £2.6 billion, and the firm posted net losses attributable to common stock of £335m, against a surplus of £280m for the same period last year.

The Houston-headquartered company has operations in the UK and Egypt, but is primarily focused on the US.

First-half group output was 478,000 barrels of oil equivalent (boe) per day, of which 237,000 came from the Permian Basin.

Apache produced 63,000 boe per day in the UK North Sea during the first half, up from 54,400 boe per day last year.

During the period under review, Apache farmed out stakes in a number of exploration prospects in the Beryl area to Chrysaor.

Apache chief executive John Christmann said: “We delivered strong cash flow as our leverage to WTI and Brent oil prices offset the impact of very weak natural gas and natural gas liquids prices.

“Total Permian production volumes were strong, oil volumes trailed guidance due to timing delays bringing wells online during the quarter.

“We will catch up in the second half of 2019 and exit the year with oil production on plan and with strong momentum heading into 2020.

“We have balanced our quarterly investment pace, and through June 30, have invested slightly less than half of our 2019 upstream capital budget. For the full year, we anticipate spending at or below our £1.9 billion budget.”

Apache entered the North Sea when it bought the Forties field from BP in 2003.

It acquired the Beryl, Ness, Nevis, Nevis South, Skene and Buckland fields from ExxonMobil in early 2012.

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