Continental Resources' quarterly output hit by winter storm

Birds fly over storage tanks on a Continental Resources oil production site near Williston, North Dakota January 23, 2015. REUTERS/Andrew Cullen

April 13 (Reuters) - U.S. oil producer Continental Resources (CLR.N) suffered an oil and gas first-quarter production hit of about 6,000 barrels per day, it said on Tuesday, citing February's savage winter storm.

A deep freeze in U.S. central and southern states disrupted power and gas supply and affected oil production, refineries and chemical plants for several weeks. Companies including Exxon Mobil (XOM.N), ConocoPhillips (COP.N) and Phillips 66 (PSX.N) have all warned of hits to profit from production shut-ins and related costs.

Continental expects oil production to average about 152,000 barrels of oil per day (bopd) and natural gas output to average about 935 million cubic feet per day (mmcfpd).

Second-quarter production is expected to be 160,000-165,000 bopd and natural gas output is seen at 920-940 mmcfpd, the company said.

Results will be released on April 29 and analysts expect a first-quarter profit of 20 cents a share, according to IBES data on Refinitiv, compared with a loss of 51 cents a year ago.

Continental also fast-tracked its debt-reduction target to $4 billion or less by the end of the year. The company, which had about $5 billion in debt at the end of March, had previously targeted debt of $4 billion by the end of 2022.

While first-quarter production suffered, Continental said it was on track to meet or exceed annual production guidance of 160,000-165,000 bopd and 880-920 mcfpd.

"We think the affirmation of the production outlook and stronger than expected debt reduction should outweigh the impact of the modest 1Q21 production miss," RBC Capital Markts analyst Scott Hanold said in a note.

Reporting by Arunima Kumar in Bengaluru; Editing by Vinay Dwivedi

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