Encana Operating Profit Doubles On Higher Gas Prices, Liquids Output

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Encana says its first-quarter operating profit more than doubled, helped by higher gas prices and liquids production.


May 13 (Reuters) - Encana Corp, Canada's largest natural-gas producer, said its first-quarter operating profit more than doubled, helped by higher gas prices and liquids production.

The company, which is restructuring its operations to end its reliance on low-value natural gas, said its output of oil and natural gas liquids averaged 67,900 barrels per day in the quarter ended March 31, up 56 percent from a year earlier.

While natural gas production fell 2 percent to 2.81 billion cubic feet per day, the company's realized price for a thousand cubic feet of gas rose to $5.82 from $3.86.

The company's operating profit, which excludes most one-time items, rose to $515 million, or 70 cents per share, from $179 million, or 24 cents per share, a year earlier.

Encana posted a net profit of $116 million compared with a loss of $431 million in the year-ago quarter, which included an income tax adjustment of $243 million.

The company's cash flow, a key indicator of its ability to pay for new projects and drilling, nearly doubled to $1.09 billion, or $1.48 per share.

After years of weak profits caused by its reliance on natural gas production, Encana chief executive Doug Suttles has moved to rapidly boost its oil production.


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