October 27, 2016 / 10:17 AM / 9 months ago

Husky Energy cuts 2016 capex for second time amid oil slump

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(Reuters) - Husky Energy Inc (HSE.TO), Canada's No. 3 integrated oil company, reported a bigger-than-expected quarterly loss and joined larger rival Cenovus Energy Inc (CVE.TO) in trimming its capital budget for the year.

Oil producers have severely curtailed spending in response to a near 60 percent fall in crude prices since mid-2014.

Husky said it now expects to spend about C$2 billion ($1.49 billion) this year, below its prior forecast of C$2.1 billion to C$2.3 billion.

The company had previously lowered its capital expenditure plan in January from a forecast of C$2.9 billion to C$3.1 billion.

Husky has achieved its target of generating more than 40 percent of its production from projects that have low operating costs and capital requirements, Chief Executive Asim Ghosh said in a statement. [nMKW5ZC9ka]

"And we have many more such projects in the wings," said Ghosh on Thursday, a day after announcing that he would retire on Dec. 5 after seven years at the helm. [nL1N1CX03T]

The company's shares were down nearly 2 percent at C$14.96 in afternoon trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

Husky's rival Cenovus Energy also reported a bigger-than-expected third-quarter loss on Thursday and trimmed its 2016 capital spending budget. [nL4N1CX3YK]

Husky's total production fell about 10 percent to 301,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day in the third quarter ended Sept. 30.

The Calgary, Alberta-based company said its realized prices for oil and gas fell 16 percent.

Cash flow from operations shrank to C$484 million from C$674 million.

However, Husky recorded nearly C$1.5 billion in gains related to asset sales, helping it post a quarterly profit of C$1.39 billion, compared with a year-ago loss of C$4.09 billion.

Excluding items, the company lost 10 Canadian cents per share, bigger than analysts' average estimate of 8 Canadian cents, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

($1 = C$1.34)

(The story was refiled to drop extraneaous words in the second paragraph)

Reporting by Ahmed Farhatha in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila, Martina D'Couto and Savio D'Souza

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