Anadarko Petroleum's Results Aren't As Bad As You Might Think

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Significant events can stick with us for a long time. Events like last year's Deepwater Horizon oil spill get etched into our memories, creating a lasting impression about the players involved. The mud-slinging that follows, mostly in the form of legal suits, makes sure the event remains fresh in people's minds.

Just get out of the mess
Sooner or later, you reach a point when it really doesn't matter who the guilty ones are. The only way out is to admit one's involvement and get out of the mess. And that's what Anadarko Petroleum (NYS: APC) did when it paid up $4 billion to BP (NYS: BP) as a part of its settlement and got the proverbial monkey off its back.

Sure, that'll hurt in the short term. Third-quarter results, reflecting a $3 billion net loss following the settlement, proves that. But will it have a long term effect? I don't think so.

Solid operations
The third quarter saw overall sales volumes improve to 660,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day (MBoe/d), which is a 5% increase from last year. That might not sound too impressive, but the 10% growth in liquids sales is definitely an attention-grabber. Management has been quietly stepping up liquids production behind the scenes -- all without cutting down on natural gas sales.

Ideal strategy
Revenues realized from the natural gas segment fell to 27% of total sales from 35% last year. Taking advantage of the hugely favorable liquids market, management was shrewd enough to push up liquids sales big time. This is nothing short of impressive.

It gets all the more impressive as Anadarko has gone global. International liquids sales volumes grew a solid 27% from last year, to 78,000 barrels per day. Production in Ghana -- home to one of the biggest African discoveries -- and Algeria has started, contributing to the increase. But Anadarko isn't content with that. It plans to move an offshore rig from Ghana -- Transocean's (NYS: RIG) Deepwater Millennium -- to drill off Mozambique. And I'm betting big here, since high-quality gas reserves have already been discovered.

Huge promise
Internationally, contributions from crude oil and condensate sales volumes stands at an impressive 37% -- up from 32% last year. I strongly believe this is where a chunk of the company's future growth prospects lie.

The company's efforts to maximize liquids production are exciting. I'm keeping my fingers crossed about its prospects in the Gulf of Mexico. Given its long-term contracts with Diamond Offshore (NYS: DO) , drilling should commence once permits are granted.

Foolish bottom line
In hindsight, it's little wonder that the stock has bounced back 120% since the Gulf tragedy last year. Management ensured that further hindrances are removed by reaching a settlement, and now Anadarko has a long way to go in terms of growth. The Motley Fool can help you keep track of the latest news and analysis about this stock. All you need to do is add it to your watchlist. It's free.

At the time this article was published Fool contributor Isac Simon owns no shares of any of the companies mentioned in this article.The Motley Fool owns shares of Transocean. Try any of our Foolish newsletter servicesfree for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe thatconsidering a diverse range of insightsmakes us better investors. The Motley Fool has adisclosure policy.

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