ARCO reported a 1998 fourth quarter net loss of $794 million after a net charge of $864 million. The net charge reflects asset writedowns, restructuring costs and a tax refund. In the 1997 fourth quarter, ARCO earned $382 million.
Before the special items, ARCO earned $70 million for the quarter as operating results continued to reflect the effects of weak commodity pricing. Compared to the same quarter in 1997, average crude oil prices declined
$7 per barrel.
ARCO achieved significant progress in efforts to geographically focus its operations during 1998. To enhance ARCO's position in the Gulf of Mexico
, the company swapped its heavy oil properties in California for assets in the Gulf of Mexico
. Those assets were subsequently sold to Vastar Resources, Inc. (in which ARCO holds an 82.1 percent interest).
In December 1998, the company announced 1999 capital spending would be reduced to $2.7 billion, down approximately 25 percent from spending in 1998.