First quarter earnings soar for producers, flounder for service firms

Oil and natural gas companies posted mixed results for the first 3 months of 2003.Higher crude oil and natural gas prices throughout the first quarter lifted producers' earnings.Cold weather and reduced supplies in the US drove natural gas prices higher, while effects of the pending war in Iraq, the national strike in Venezuela, and civil unrest in Nigeria contributed to elevated oil prices.The integrated and independent companies as a group posted a 352% gain in earnings compared with the first quarter of last year as revenues increased 64% (Table 1).Meanwhile, lower day rates and reduced activity levels suppressed the earnings of many of the service and supply firms in the group of ...

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