Anadarko Petroleum Corp (APC.N) on Monday reported a net loss in the second quarter as low natural gas prices forced the company to write down the value of some assets, but the results topped expectations as oil and gas output surged 8 percent to a record.
While natural gas prices have rallied recently on power demand, the average natural gas price at the delivery point Henry Hub fell nearly 50 percent from a year ago in the second quarter.
That steep decline left some of Andarko's properties in the Powder River Basin in Wyoming too expensive to produce, so the U.S. oil and gas company took a before-tax impairment charge of $978 million in the quarter.
"They beat on production and they had great oil price realizations," Eliot Javanmardi, an analyst at CapitalOne Southcoast said.
Anadarko reported a net loss of $380 million, or 76 cents per share, compared with $544 million, or $1.08 per share, a year ago.
Excluding items, Anadarko reported a profit of 85 cents per share. Analysts on average had expected a profit of 77 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Oil and gas output in the quarter was 742,000 barrels oil equivalent (boe) per day, up from 685,000 boe per day a year ago. Growth in production was fueled by output from the Wattenberg field in Colorado and Caesar Tonga in the Gulf of Mexico, Anadarko said.
The company is working to increase production of higher priced natural gas liquids and oil onshore in the United States and also has a number of deepwater prospects in the Gulf of Mexico and offshore the western coast of Africa.
Anadarko's production came in well above Wall Street expectations. Analysts at Bernstein Research expected the company to report daily production of 713,000 boe, while Deutsche Bank estimated output of 718,000 boe per day.
The company plans to hold its conference with analysts on Tuesday.
Anadarko shares rose slightly to $72.25 after the close of regular trading from the New York Stock Exchange close of $71.75.
(Reporting By Anna Driver; editing by Andre Grenon)