* Q1 production falls 21.4 pct, misses Street's estimate
* Capex of $576 mln in Q1 well above estimates of $494 mln
* Raises lower end of FY production, capex forecast
(Adds details, updates shares)
May 4U.S. natural gas producer Chesapeake Energy
Corp reported a bigger-than-expected fall in production
on Thursday, even as it spent more than what analysts had
estimated, sending its shares down as much as 8.4 percent.
The stock was also dragged down as global oil prices fell to
their lowest since late November.
Chesapeake's production miss outweighed a
better-than-expected quarterly profit that was helped by an
uptick in crude prices after a more than two-year slump.
The company's production fell 21.4 percent to 528,000
barrels of oil equivalent per day (boepd) in the first quarter
and was below Wall Street expectations of 530,000-536,000 boepd.
Chesapeake's capital expenditure of about $576 million
during the three months ended March 31 was also well above
analysts' estimates of $494 million.
"CHK continues to outspend cash flow to move back to
growth," Jefferies analysts wrote in a note.
Oklahoma-based Chesapeake also raised the lower end of its
2017 capital expenditure forecast by $200 million to $2.1
billion, but retained the upper end at $2.5 billion.
Oil producers have been trying to keep spending within cash
flows in an attempt to bolster margins at $50 per barrel, after
years of piling on debt to fund production growth.
The company has been shedding assets to pay back its
crippling $9.1 billion debt load.
The company is looking to sell more assets, Chief Executive
Robert Lawler said on a post-earnings conference call.
Chesapeake raised the lower end of its full-year production
forecast to 197.5 million barrels of oil equivalent (boe), from
194 million boe. It maintained the upper end of the range at 205
The company reported a net profit available to shareholders
of $75 million, or 8 cents per share, in the quarter, compared
with a loss of $1.11 billion, or $1.66 per share, a year
The year-ago quarter included an impairment charge of nearly
$1 billion as the company wrote down the value of some oil and
Excluding items, the company earned 23 cents per share,
above analysts' average estimate of 18 cents per share,
according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Total revenue rose 41 percent to $2.75 billion in the
quarter, well above estimates of $2.30 billion.
The company said average realized oil price rose 37 percent
to $51.72 in the quarter, while natural gas prices rose about 32
(Reporting by Arathy S Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak