McMoRan 3rd-qtr loss widens on exploration costs

NEW ORLEANS -- McMoRan Exploration Co. said Friday its third-quarter loss swelled to $64 million, hurt by a jump in exploration costs and a drop in oil and gas production stemming for Hurricane Isaac.

The New Orleans-based company's loss amounted to 40 cents per share and compared with a loss of $9.4 million, or 6 cents per share, in the same quarter last year. The company's loss from continuing operations totaled 39 cents per share for the recent quarter.

Revenue dropped 34 percent to $91.8 million from $138.2 million.

Production dropped to an average of 134 million cubic feet natural gas equivalent per day, from 187 million cubic feet natural gas equivalent per day in the year-ago period, largely as a result of shutdowns stemming from Hurricane Isaac.

Exploration expenses more than doubled to $48.9 million from $18.2 million. The recent quarter's costs included $37.2 million in impairment charges.

McMoRan shares fell 45 cents, or 3.5 percent, to $12.31 in morning trading.