Cabot Oil and Gas profit beats on higher prices, production

(Reuters) - Cabot Oil and Gas Corp COG.N reported a quarterly profit that topped analysts estimates, on the back of higher realized prices and increased production.

The company, which gets its bulk of revenue from natural gas, said total production rose to 172.6 billion cubic feet equivalent (Bcfe) from 164.2 Bcfe.

Sales price of natural gas, excluding hedges, rose nearly 10 percent to $2.15 per thousand cubic feet, while crude prices were up by 23.5 percent at $54.77 per barrel.

North American energy companies have ramped up production, in tandem with OPEC's efforts to cut global output, to take advantage of rising prices. Last year, U.S. gas prices NGc1 averaged 18.2 percent higher and crude CLc1 averaged 17 percent above 2016 prices.

Cabot’s net loss narrowed to $44.4 million, or 10 cents per share, in the quarter ended Dec. 31, from $292.8 million, or 63 cents per share, a year earlier. The reported quarter included a tax benefit of $242.9 million related to the U.S. tax law reforms.

On an adjusted basis, Cabot earned 13 cents per share, beating analysts’ average estimate by 2 cents.

The Houston, Texas-based company’s operating revenue rose 26.5 percent to $400.5 million.

On Thursday, rival Chesapeake Energy CHK.N posted a better-than-expected fourth-quarter profit helped by higher production and prices of oil and natural gas.

Reporting by Ahmed Farhatha in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D’Souza and Shailesh Kuber