(Reuters) – Oil producer ConocoPhillips COP.N, which is buying Concho Resources Inc CXO.N for $8.3 billion, posted a smaller-than-expected quarterly loss on Thursday as it benefited from a recovery in crude oil prices from pandemic-driven lows.
Crude prices began recovering in the third quarter after a number of countries started easing their months-long cornonavirus-led lockdowns, which had slammed fuel demand and forced many oil companies to merge for survival.
Excluding curtailments and other items, ConocoPhillips’ third-quarter production came in at 1.2 million barrels of oil equivalent per day (boepd), 4% below last year’s levels.
The company reversed all curtailments over the course of the quarter and its chief executive officer, Ryan Lance, said it was now “back to more normal business” and would focus on progressing the Concho deal.
Concho Resources had earlier this week reported a small decline in its third-quarter production. Its merger with ConocoPhillips is expected to be completed in the first quarter next year.
The company’s acquisition of Concho has triggered a wave of consolidation in the shale industry, with at least two more multi-billion dollar takeovers being announced in a span of one week.
ConocoPhillips’ adjusted net loss of 31 cents per share in the third quarter was 1 cent below analysts’ average expectations, according to Refinitiv IBES data.