Strong oil prices boost fourth-quarter earnings

Marilyn Radler Senior Editor-Economics Laura Bell Statistics Editor Strong oil prices buoyed upstream results for oil producers in fourth-quarter 2011 and for the entire year. The collective quarterly earnings of a sample of US-based producers and refiners more than doubled compared with the last quarter in 2010, while annual net income for the group was up 32% from a year earlier. Still, 19 of these 47 companies posted a net loss for the quarter. Weak refining margins were a drag on downstream earnings for some refiners, but margins in the US Rocky Mountains were stronger from the final 2010 quarter. The combined earnings for a group of Canadian-based oil and gas producers, refiners, an...

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