Noble Energy Inc. Earnings Cheat Sheet: Earnings Higher Than Expected

S&P 500 (NYSE:SPY) component Noble Energy Inc. (NYSE:NBL) reported net income above Wall Street’s expectations for the third quarter. Noble Energy is an independent energy company that acquires and produces crude oil, natural gas, and natural gas liquids.

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Noble Energy Earnings Cheat Sheet for the Third Quarter

Results: Net income for the independent oil and gas company rose to $441 million ($2.39 per share) vs. $232 million ($1.31 per share) in the same quarter a year earlier. This marks a rise of 90.1% from the year earlier quarter.

Revenue: Rose 28.2% to $924 million from the year earlier quarter.

Actual vs. Wall St. Expectations: NBL reported adjusted net income of $1.24 per share. By that measure, the company beat the mean estimate of $1.03 per share. Analysts were expecting revenue of $926.7 million.

Quoting Management: Charles D. Davidson, Noble Energy’s Chairman and CEO, commented, “It was an outstanding quarter for Noble Energy as we reported record volumes from the DJ basin, along with record natural gas sales in Israel. We expect a strong finish to 2011 as our activity continues to accelerate in the horizontal Niobrara play, and we integrate our newly established core position in the Marcellus shale. The fourth quarter should also see first oil production from the Aseng project in Equatorial Guinea and the Raton South development in the Gulf of Mexico. In addition, we anticipate well results from several impactful exploration opportunities. This positive outlook for the fourth quarter together with performance to date has led us to raise production guidance for the second time this year, which now is expected to exceed the top end of our original guidance range.” The Company’s total sales volumes for the third quarter 2011 averaged 224 MBoe/d. Production volumes were 223 MBoe/d, with the difference attributable to an overlifted position of crude oil and condensate in Equatorial Guinea.”

Key Stats:

The company has now topped analyst estimates for the last four quarters. It beat the mark by 11 cents in the second quarter, by 19 cents in the first quarter, and by 3 cents in the fourth quarter of the last fiscal year.

Revenue has risen the past four quarters. Revenue increased 31.2% to $954 million in the second quarter. The figure rose 27.2% in the first quarter from the year earlier and climbed 3% in the fourth quarter of the last fiscal year from the year-ago quarter.

Net income has increased more than twofold year over year on average across the last five quarters. The biggest gain came in the fourth quarter of the last fiscal year, when income climbed more than sixfold from the year earlier quarter.

Looking Forward: Analysts appear increasingly negative about the company’s results for the next quarter. The average estimate for the fourth quarter has moved down from $1.27 a share to $1.07 over the last ninety days. At $4.82 per share, the average estimate for the fiscal year has fallen from $5.15 ninety days ago.

Competitors to Watch: Marathon Oil Corporation (NYSE:MRO), Anadarko Petroleum Corp. (NYSE:APC), EOG Resources, Inc. (NYSE:EOG), Newfield Exploration Co. (NYSE:NFX), Chevron Corporation (NYSE:CVX), Apache Corporation (NYSE:APA), Harvest Natural Resources, Inc. (NYSE:HNR), Murphy Oil Corporation (NYSE:MUR), Crimson Exploration Inc. (NASDAQ:CXPO), and ATP Oil & Gas Corporation (NASDAQ:ATPG).

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(Source: Xignite Financials)