February 21, 2018 / 10:53 PM / 4 months ago

UPDATE 1-Whiting loss beats forecast; $835 mln charge on Colorado acreage

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Feb 21 (Reuters) - U.S. shale oil producer Whiting Petroleum Corp posted a quarterly loss on Wednesday that was less than Wall Street expected, with cost cuts and rising crude prices helping to boost results.

Whiting, the largest oil producer in North Dakota’s Bakken shale formation, took an $835 million charge to write down the value of its Colorado assets, an acknowledgment that acreage there needs even higher oil prices to be economically developed.

The company posted a fourth-quarter net loss of $798.3 million, or $8.80 per share, compared to a net loss of $173.3 million, or $2.34 per share, in the year-ago period.

Excluding the impairment charge and other one-time items, Continental lost 17 cents per share. By that measure, analysts expected a loss of 30 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Production rose 8 percent to 128,050 barrels of oil equivalent per day.

For 2018, Whiting plans to spend $750 million and pump 128,400 barrels of oil equivalent per day, in what would be a 9 percent increase over the average daily production in 2017. Most of that growth should come in North Dakota, the company said.

Whiting has 70 percent of its 2018 production hedged.

“Looking forward, we will work together to achieve our goal of becoming a top-tier exploration and production company as measured by capital efficient growth and free cash flow generation,” Brad Holly, Whiting’s chief executive, said in a statement.

Shares of Whiting rose 1.2 percent to $22.57 in after-hours trading.

Whiting executives plan to discuss the quarterly results on a conference call with investors on Thursday morning. (Reporting by Ernest Scheyder; editing by Grant McCool and Cynthia Osterman)

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