Apache Out to Conquer

Apache (NYS: APA) has been on the prowl, cashing in on available opportunities and increasing its presence in key acreages around the world. The globetrotting is now paying off, with Apache posting higher-than-expected third-quarter figures.

Digging the numbers
Strong crude oil prices and record production were the main factors contributing to Apache's good performance. With adjusted earnings at $1.2 billion, the company reported earnings of $2.95 per share, beating the Thomson Reuters estimate of $2.78 per share. Net income was at $983 million, and revenues were up 44%.

Oil prices were at a premium in the quarter, with ConocoPhillips (NYS: COP) and Marathon (NYS: MRO) also making hay while the sun shone -- their revenues went up 28%.

Bumper output
Apache has been setting new benchmarks for itself with record production in five consecutive quarters. In the quarter under review, the company yet again reported record production at 752,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day; up from 667,460 boe per day for the same period a year earlier. The bump came with the help of acreages in the U.S. and Canada. Also, the fact that 75% of Apache's total oil production receives Brent index or Brent-comparable index pricing helps the company maintain a high margin on sales.

Milking reserves worldwide
Apache is going all-guns-blazing when it comes to adding acreages. Consider this: In this quarter alone, the company acquired new acreages in North Sea from Exxon (NYS: XOM) ; bought Gulf of Mexico shale assets from Devon (NYS: DVN) ; invested in the Wheatstone LNG project in Australia with Chevron (NYS: CVX) , Shell (NYS: RDSA) , and Kuwait Foreign Petroleum Exploration Company; and also won a 20-year LNG export license at Kitimat in Canada. All of these ventures are expected to be quite profitable and promise a longer field life for Apache.

Moreover, Apache's North Sea asset produces high-quality Brent oil that sells at a high profit margin. And the LNG projects will provide the company the opportunity to serve the lucrative Asian and European markets. Apache's exploration activities in areas like Deepwater Gulf of Mexico, Alaska, Deepwater Canyon, and New Zealand are also on track.

Foolish takeaway
Apache is demonstrating a spirit of exploration. It has made a strong foothold around the globe in both oil and natural gas businesses. More than anything else, two factors make me bet high on the company -- firstly, the fact that majority of the oil produced by Apache receives Brent index, and secondly, through its presence in Australia and Canada, Apache can serve Asia and Europe, which have the highest demand for natural gas. So, Fools, we can hopefully look forward to more record-breaking performances from Apache. This stock is worth watching out for.

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At the time thisarticle was published Fool contributor Amitabha Chakraborty does not own shares of any of the companies mentioned in this article. The Motley Fool owns shares of Devon Energy. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Chevron. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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