May 1, 2018 / 8:32 PM / a year ago

UPDATE 2-Anadarko tops profit view, raises annual output forecast

(Adds details on output forecast, share buyback plan, CEO comment)

May 1 (Reuters) - Anadarko Petroleum Corp topped Wall Street estimates for first-quarter profit due to higher crude prices and lower costs and the shale oil producer raised its annual production forecast on Tuesday.

Oil prices, which are trading around $70 a barrel, helped the company sell oil at $63.66 per barrel, up from $50.34 a year earlier, despite oil output dropping 19 percent in the quarter.

Total costs fell 35.5 percent to $2.49 billion in the quarter. Anadarko increased its full-year production guidance to 658,000-685,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boe/d) from 652,000 - 679,000 boe/d.

The company, which had increased its share buyback program to $3 billion in February, said it would complete the program by mid-2018.

“We will consider expanding this program further should free cash flow from the current operating environment continue to increase,” Chief Executive Officer Al Walker said in a statement.

Anadarko, like its peers, has been under increasing shareholder pressure to keep a lid on costs and increase returns.

The oil producer reported net profit attributable to shareholders of $121 million, or 22 cents per share, in the quarter ended March 31, compared with a net loss of $318 million, or 58 cents per share, a year earlier.

Excluding items, the Woodlands, Texas-based company earned 52 cents share, higher than the average analyst estimate of 40 cents, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Shares of the company were marginally lower at $66.50 in after-market trading. (Reporting by Anirban Paul in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila and Arun Koyyur)

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