May 6 (Reuters) - Occidental Petroleum Corp boosted its 2015 production forecast on Wednesday after reporting an adjusted quarterly profit in line with expectations as cost cuts helped balance the recent drop in oil prices.
Occidental raised its 2015 output forecast by 20,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boe/d), citing "a more optimistic outlook for the remainder of the year."
Chief Executive Officer Steve Chazen said he is comfortable the company can be cash-flow neutral by the fourth quarter if the West Texas Intermediate oil price stays at least at $60 per barrel.
The raised production outlook comes as the oil industry gets more comfortable that the increase in prices during April may be sustainable.
Noble Energy Inc and Concho Resources Inc also raised their production outlooks this week.
Occidental posted a net loss of $218 million, or 28 cents per share, compared with net income of $1.39 billion, or $1.75 per share, in the year-ago period.
Factoring in one-time items, the company earned 4 cents per share, matching analysts' estimates, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Production rose 13 percent to 645,000 barrels of oil equivalent in the quarter, largely due to higher output from its Permian shale operations in Texas.
Chemical unit earnings rose 2 percent from a year ago to $139 million. The midstream pipeline business posted a loss of $5 million, compared with a profit of $96 million in the year-ago quarter, due to falling ethane and propane costs.
For the year, Houston-based Occidental now expects a production increase of 60,000 to 80,000 boe/d from last year's level of 591,000 boe/d.
The company boosted its dividend on Tuesday and said Vicki Hollub, executive vice president, will replace Chazen as CEO after "a thorough transition period."
Shares have lost 2.5 percent so far this year, closing Tuesday at $78.62.
(Reporting by Ernest Scheyder in Williston, North Dakota; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)
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