(Reuters) - Canadian oil and gas producer Enerplus Corp (ERF.TO) reported a third-quarter loss due to certain asset impairments and said it expects growth to slow down next year as it cuts 2013 capital spending by 20 percent.
The sale of its 1,600 barrels per day Manitoba assets will also reduce its growth expectations for 2013, the company said in a statement.
Enerplus targets a 2012 capital spending of C$850 million.
Enerplus, which has crude oil assets in the Bakken and Three Forks fields in North Dakota, also cut its average production forecast for 2012 by 2 percent to 82,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boe/d).
The company said a slower pace of activity in the Marcellus shale in Pennsylvania and the corresponding delay in bringing the associated natural gas production on-stream is expected to hit annual and exit production rates for the year.
With weak natural gas prices in 2012 and the ongoing infrastructure challenges, drilling and tie-in activity has been slower than expected, the company said in a statement.
Natural gas prices fell 29 percent to average $2.85 per million British thermal unit in the July-September quarter.
“We continue to expect a slower pace of wells on-stream through the remainder of the year,” the company said.
Operating costs for the current year are now expected to average C$10.70 per barrels of oil equivalent, up from its prior view of C$10.40.
Net loss in the third quarter was C$63.5 million ($63.6 million), or 32 Canadian cents per share, compared with a net income of C$111.3 million, or 62 Canadian cents per share, a year earlier.
The company said it recorded exploration and evaluation impairments of about C$114 million.
Daily production in the quarter averaged 81,573 barrels of oil equivalent per day, up 11 percent from a year earlier.
The company said natural gas volumes declined due to a lack of capital investment in its Canadian gas assets.
Shares of Enerplus, which has a market value of C$3.02 billion, closed at C$15.05 on the Toronto Stock Exchange on Thursday. ($1 = 0.9980 Canadian dollars)
Reporting by Bhaswati Mukhopadhyay in Bangalore; Editing by Supriya Kurane