UPDATE 2-Enerplus posts loss, expects slower growth in 2013

Fri Nov 9, 2012 2:17pm EST
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* Slashes capital spending for next year by 20 pct

* Cuts 2012 average production forecast by 2 pct to 82,000 boe/d

* Q3 loss/shr C$0.32 vs year ago EPS of C$0.62

* Shares fall as much as 15 pct

Nov 9 (Reuters) - Enerplus Corp reported a third-quarter loss as it wrote down the value of certain exploration assets, and the Canadian oil and gas producer warned of slower growth next year after it cut its 2013 capital spending by about 20 percent.

Shares of the company, which targets a 2012 capital spending of C$850 million, fell as much as 15 percent to C$12.76 on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

"We recorded impairments of approximately C$114 million, C$66 million of which relates to Marcellus operated leases in West Virginia and Maryland that are expected to expire over the next 12 months as we don't anticipate renewing them," Chief Executive Gordon Kerr said on a conference call with analysts.

The sale of its 1,600-barrels-per-day Manitoba assets in central Canada will also reduce growth expectations for 2013, said the company, which also owns assets in the Bakken in North Dakota and in the Marcellus shale in Pennsylvania.

"I am having a hard time seeing how they can cut capex by 20 percent and also have growth next year ... They have a tough job in front of them," said analyst Dirk Lever of Altacorp Capital.   Continued...