Oil and gas exploration and development company Hess Corp. (NYSE: HES – $83.03) reported better-than-expected third quarter revenue and beat earnings estimates by $0.18. For the period, Hess’ adjusted net income was $377 million, or $1.24 per share, beating the consensus of $1.06 and compared to $1.18 last year. Revenue totaled $2.8 billion, above Street estimates of $2.6 billion, and slightly above $2.7 billion in revenue for Q3 2013, despite sharply lower oil prices. Net cash provided by operating activities was $1.3 billion. Oil and gas production was 318,000 barrels of oil equivalents per day in the period, compared with 310,000 in the year-ago quarter. Production in the North Dakota Bakken play increased 21% from the year-ago quarter, while well costs were reduced by 8%. Hess also announced that together with its project co-owners it will proceed with the development of Stampede, an oil and gas project operated by Hess in the deep-water Gulf of Mexico. The company has completed the sale of virtually all its downstream businesses and has used the cash for share repurchases and dividend increases. Cumulative shares repurchased under the buy-back program through September 30, 2014 total 49.4 million at a cost of about $4.2 billion. The annual dividend jumped over the past year from $.40 to $1.00. I believe that there will be significant consolidation within the energy business over the next year, and Hess should be right in the middle of the action. The shares are worth holding for recovery.