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This board seems to be dormant, unfortunately, but here's the latest on one of my favorite stocks.

Posted on Fri, Oct. 21, 2005

XTO shatters its 3Q record

By Dan Piller
Star-Telegram Staff Writer

XTO Energy executives said Thursday that with natural-gas prices near record highs, they will keep the accelerator down and continue the company's aggressive drilling program.

"We increased our rigs from 55 in the second quarter to 64 in the third and were going to cut back, but we decided to keep those rigs going through the end of the year," said XTO President Keith Hutton. Of the 64 working rigs, 19 are in the Barnett Shale close to Fort Worth in Tarrant, Johnson and Parker counties. XTO also produces in East Texas, Louisiana, the West Texas Permian Basin, New Mexico and Oklahoma.

Hutton said the shortage of available leased rigs was an incentive to hang onto its leased rigs. XTO has not built its own rigs, unlike some other independent producers.

XTO announced a record third-quarter profit of $312.8 million, or 86 cents per share. A year ago, the company earned $140.8 million, or 41 cents per share in the third quarter.

Despite the record performance, XTO's stock (ticker: XTO) fell $2 per share Thursday in trading on the New York Stock Exchange, closing at $38.80.

Most energy stocks weakened Thursday when crude-oil and natural-gas prices declined. Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM) closed down $1.97 per share, to $55.20. Chevron (CVX) dropped by $2.59 to close at $55.75.

XTO's third-quarter natural-gas production was up 28 percent, boosted largely by increases coming from the Barnett Shale. XTO entered the Barnett play in a major way this year with its purchase of leased properties from Antero Resources of Denver. It plans to drill up to 150 new wells in the Barnett this year.

"The Barnett Shale has exploded over the last couple of quarters," Hutton said.

XTO Chairman Bob Simpson said the company likely will spend its excess cash on stock repurchases rather than continuing to acquire new producing properties. He said that properties offered now "are pretty rich."
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