Strong Quarter for ConocoPhillips

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Strong Quarter for ConocoPhillips

HOUSTON -- ConocoPhillips Inc. reported the strongest quarter in its history yesterday posting a third-quarter profit of more than $1.3 billion, compared with a net loss a year before. The strong results were driven by higher oil and gas prices and improved refining margins.

The Houston-based refiner/marketer reported net income of $1.31 billion. For the year-earlier period, the company posted a net loss of $116 million reflecting charges from the $15 billion merger of Phillips Petroleum Co. and Conoco Inc. in August last year. Quarterly revenue surged to $26.5 billion from $14.7 billion last year, driven by high energy and refined-product prices, the company said.

Since completing the merger on Aug. 30 last year, ConocoPhillips has sold $2.2 billion of assets and expects to shed another $1.3 billion worth before the end of this year. During the third quarter ConocoPhillips agreed to sell its Circle K convenience store chain to Canada's Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc., shedding 1,663 outlets in 16 states plus about 350 franchised and licensed stores. The transaction, which will reduce the company's employee count to 38,400 from 55,800, is expected to be completed in the fourth quarter.

The Circle K sale is also the latest in a series of moves from the oil company designed to shift investment from lower return activities, such as retail marketing, toward potentially more lucrative exploration and production, the company said.