US oil, gas companies' second quarter, first half 2001 earnings jump

With few exceptions, second quarter and first half earnings showed impressive gains for the US oil and gas industry.Integrated firms and independent exploration and production companies alike posted sharp income gains on increased production and higher natural gas prices. Contributing to those gains for many independent E&P firms were strong price hedging programs implemented to shore up their earnings prospects (see related story, p. 22).And refiners' earnings also gained, as strong demand for products led to increased margins and high utilization rates. The other side of the downstream sector did not fare as well, as high feedstock costs and reduced demand owing to an economic downt...

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