UPDATE 3-Talisman posts operating loss during strategic shift

Wed Feb 13, 2013 6:25pm EST
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* Company sees more asset sales, cost cuts in 2013

* More details to come in March investor symposium

* Cash flow declines to $675 million from $824 million

* Shares up 2 percent in Toronto (Adds analyst comments)

By Jeffrey Jones

CALGARY, Alberta, Feb 13 (Reuters) - Talisman Energy Inc's push to resuscitate its share price and stave off takeover is gaining momentum as Canada's fifth-largest independent oil producer looks to jettison more assets and cut costs to deal with weak natural gas prices, its chief executive said on Wednesday.

The refocusing of Talisman's priorities began last year with a change in the top job. The effort is now centering on North American and Asian operations as core operating regions while the company exits costly, higher-risk exploration, CEO Hal Kvisle said after the company reported a fourth-quarter operating loss compared with a profit the previous year.

Investors have criticized Talisman for being active in too many parts of the world, especially in places where it could take years before spending results in cash flow. After being named CEO in September, Kvisle promised a turnaround.

"We're focusing the capital program on opportunities that effectively have a bigger bang for the buck, and not so widespread," he said in an interview. "We need to be really zeroing in on opportunities that bring production in the near term, and less money being spent on very long-cycle things - wildcat exploration, offshore Africa and stuff like that."   Continued...