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May 2 (Reuters) - Oil and gas producer Anadarko Petroleum Corp reported a bigger-than-expected quarterly loss on Tuesday, as expenses rose about 53 percent, failing to offset gains from higher crude prices.
North American oil producers faced prolonged weakness in crude prices after oil hit near-record lows in February 2016, which chewed into their profit margins and eroded cash flows.
Anadarko's total costs and expenses surged to $3.88 billion in the first quarter ended March 31, from $2.54 billion in the year-ago period.
Exploration expenses rose more than eight-fold to $1.09 billion, the company said.
However, average sales prices for oil were higher in the quarter at $50.34 per barrel, from $29.65 a year ago.
Total oil and gas sales volumes averaged 795,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boe/d), slightly lower when compared with 827,000 boe/d a year ago.
Net loss attributable to the company narrowed to $318 million, or 58 cents per share, from $1.03 billion, or $2.03 per share.
On an adjusted basis, Anadarko lost 60 cents per share, largely missing analysts' average estimate of a loss of 24 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
The Texas-based company's revenue more-than-doubled to $3.77 billion.
Anadarko's shares were down 3.6 percent at $54.25 in after-hours trading. (Reporting by Ahmed Farhatha in Bengaluru; Editing by Martina D'Couto)