July 29, 2020 / 10:36 PM / 8 days ago

UPDATE 1-Apache posts smaller-than-expected loss as cost-cuts pay off

(Adds shares, details on production, prices, cost savings)

July 29 (Reuters) - Oil and gas producer Apache Corp reported a smaller-than-expected quarterly loss on Wednesday and said it made a third oil discovery offshore Suriname, sending its shares up 17% after hours.

U.S. crude prices fell below $0 for the first time ever in April as coronavirus-led lockdowns drained demand and a feud between the world’s top producers flooded the market with oil.

To cushion the hit from lower production and prices, Apache cut its quarterly expenses by 43%. It expects to save about $225 million in 2020 and said it was tracking towards the low end of its full-year capital investment outlook of $1 to $1.2 billion.

Apache posted a loss of 74 cents per share, helped by the cost savings, while analysts were expecting a loss of $1.01 per share, according to Refinitiv IBES.

Average realized prices for its crude fell 60% to $25.77 a barrel, compared to a year earlier.

Production declined 4.3% to 435,448 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boepd) in the second quarter, as it curtailed production due to the low oil and gas prices.

The company was also forced to shut-in an additional 7,000 boepd due to unscheduled pipeline downtime at Alpine High.

Apache said it had now returned its curtailed volumes in the North Sea and Alpine High to production, along with a portion of shut in oil volumes elsewhere in the Permian Basin.

The Houston-Texas based company’s net loss attributable to common stock widened to $386 million, or $1.02 per share, in the second quarter ended June 30, from $360 million, or 96 cents per share, posted a year earlier.

Apache and its joint venture partner Total SA also said they made their third oil discovery offshore Suriname, seen as central to Apache’s efforts to reduce its reliance on the Alpine High venture in Texas’ Permian basin. (Reporting by Arunima Kumar in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber)

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