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Temps affected some companies’ earnings

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DICKINSON, N.D. — The extreme cold North Dakota and the rest of the country saw this week will get a mention in many oil companies’ fourth-quarter earnings reports.

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While likely every operator was affected, some had to lower their earnings projections while others didn’t, saying they factor extreme weather into their original predictions.

Baker Hughes Inc. announced in a release Friday that in the U.S. and North Sea, the primary reason activity declined late in the quarter was the weather.

“As a result, North American and Europe/ Africa/Russia Caspian operating profit margins declined sequentially,” the company reported.

In a Jan. 7 investors’ update, ConocoPhillips said “significant weather-related downtime” hurt average production for the fourth quarter.

The problems put fourth-quarter production at about 1.475 million barrels per day, compared to a forecast 1.6 million barrels.

ConocoPhillips spokesman Daren Beaudo wouldn’t elaborate, and said more information would come in the fourth quarter call on Jan. 30.

Earlier this winter, Department of Mineral Resources Director Lynn Helms said issues with hydraulic fracturing fluids, snow obstructions on access roads and county road shutdowns affect production during the winter.

The No. 1 cause of the slowdown is difficulties with fracking, he said. Ice and snow make it harder to get water to a site, it takes longer to heat fluids and keep them warm, and flowback water can freeze and delay the process.

In early December, when North Dakota saw its first stretch of subzero days, operators were struggling.

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