Devon Energy (NYSE:DVN) announced its first-quarter results before the market opened this morning. The North America-focused energy company reported adjusted earnings of $547 million, or $1.34 per share. This represented a 103% surge from last year's first quarter and beat analysts' estimates by $0.07 per share.
Production averaged 691,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day, or BOE/d this quarter. Adjusted for asset sales that was 7% higher than last year's first quarter. That growth was fueled by the company's U.S. oil production, which surged 56% over the past year.
Leading the way was Devon Energy's Permian Basin assets, where production increased 36% over last year's first quarter and is up 9% over the past quarter. The other highlight was the company's newly acquired position in the Eagle Ford Shale. Production in the Eagle Ford averaged 49,000 BOE/d, however, that's expected to grow to a range of 65,000-70,000 by next quarter.
Surging oil production, along with higher commodity prices and lower costs, pushed Devon Energy's operating cash flow up 41% over the past year to $1.4 billion. That enabled the company to raise its quarterly dividend by 9% -- from $0.22 per share to $0.24 per share -- which is the ninth increase since 2004.
Devon Energy has made significant progress in high-grading its portfolio over the past year according to a statement made by CEO John Richels in the company's earnings release. He noted the the company's sale of non-core assets is being used to fund high growth assets like its new position in the Eagle Ford Shale. This is leading to "outstanding oil production growth" and "enhanced profitability," according to Richels. It's a trend that should only continue as the company continues to focus on its high-growth, high-margin U.S. oil assets.