* Q1 $0.37/shr vs est $0.34/shr
* Sees lower FY production
* Says to increase focus on oil
* Sees higher FY average daily production exit rate
* Shares down 13 pct (Adds analyst comment, conf call details; updates share movement)
By Arup Roychoudhury
BANGALORE, May 6 (Reuters) - Oil and natural gas explorer Swift Energy Co SFY.N reported first-quarter profit that beat analysts’ estimates, but cut its full-year production outlook, sending its shares down 13 percent.
The company plans to change its production mix to drill for more oil, especially in the liquids-rich Eagle Ford shale, Chief Operating Officer Robert Banks said on a conference call with analysts.
“These wells while yielding stronger economic returns, do not yield the same production volumes as the leaner gas areas,” Banks said, adding the company expect to produce less crude oil and natural gas during 2010 than previously forecast.
In February the company had forecast full-year production to rise 3 percent to 7 percent year over year.
Natixis Bleichroeder analyst Curtis Trimble said the company’s decision to tap more liquids-rich production stream, which may lead to lower production, caught the market by surprise.
“That along with overall market and oil being down probably is good for shares being down,” Trimble said.
Swift, however, raised its average daily production exit rate forecast for year-end 2010 to 28,000 barrels of oil equivalent (boe) per day from 27,500 boe per day.
“Our drilling results also support a change of our previously stated year-end reserves guidance from an increase of 5 to 10 percent to an increase of 8 to 12 percent over year-end 2009 levels,” Chief Executive Terry Swift said in a statement.
For the latest first quarter, Swift’s net income was $14.2 million, or 37 cents a share, compared with a loss of $59 million, or $1.90 per share a year earlier.
Revenue rose 44 percent to $109.8 million.
Analysts were expecting Swift to earn 34 cents a share on revenue of $110.4 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
While Swift’s quarterly production fell 14 percent, aggregate average price rose 67 percent to $53.81 per boe.
Shares of Swift Energy fell 13 percent to $30.76 Thursday afternoon on the New York Stock Exchange.
The larger Dow Jones U.S. Exploration & Production Index .DJUSOS was down 17 points at 584.52 on Thursday afternoon, while U.S. crude oil futures CLc1 fell 3 percent on stronger dollar and the euro’s tumble. [ID:nN04131798]
For the alerts, please double click [ID:nASA00BQX] (Reporting by Arup Roychoudhury in Bangalore; Editing by Prem Udayabhanu, Don Sebastian)