Devon Energy, the largest producer in the Barnett Shale, said it lost $1.3 billion in the first quater after taking a $1.9 billion non-cash impairment charge related to market prices of natural gas and crude oil. After adjustments for those and other items, Devon earned $270 million, or 66 cents a share, compared to financial analysts' consensus estimate of 56 cents. The company's shares (ticker: DVN) were up in early trading. Impairments occur when a company's estimate of assets under current economic conditions falls short of the expenses it booked to acquire the assets.
Devon said total production declined slightly from a year ago to the equivalent of 687,000 barrels of oil a day. Crude oil production was up 14 percent to 162,000 barrels a day, helped by a 23 percent increase in the Permian Basin in West Texas. In the Barnett Shale Devon said it averaged 1.4 billion cubic feet of natural gas a day in the quarter, including 55,000 barrels a day of liquids, up 5 percent from a year ago.
-- Jim Fuquay