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ConocoPhilips Profit Falls on Lower Refining Margins

ConocoPhillips' third-quarter profit fell 5 percent as lower refining margins outweighed higher crude oil prices, the third-largest U.S. oil company said Wednesday.

Net income in the quarter fell to $3.67 billion, or $2.23 a share, from $3.88 billion, or $2.31 a share, last year.

The average forecast of Wall Street analysts was $2.19 a share, according to Reuters Estimates.

Revenue in the quarter dipped to $46.1 billion from $48.1 billion last year.

The Houston company's quarterly production, excluding its investment in Russia's Lukoil fell to 1.8 million barrels of oil equivalent per day (boepd) from 2.0 million boepd last year.

The company estimated its equity share of Lukoil production was 432,000 boepd in the quarter.

Refining Margins Sharply Down

Refining margins are expected to drag down quarterly earnings at several oil companies that have significant refining businesses.

The margins fell sharply during the quarter -- plummeting by as much as 90 percent from record highs reached in May -- as refinery maintenance levels dropped and the summer driving season ended.

ConocoPhillips' shares closed at $83.22 on the New York Stock Exchange Tuesday. Since the beginning of the year, the shares are up around 16 percent, underperforming the Chicago Board Options Exchange's Oil Index which rose about 24 percent over the same period.

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