May 11, 2012 / 5:33 PM / 6 years ago

Enerplus posts loss; may sell some assets

(Reuters) - Oil and gas producer Enerplus Corp (ERF.TO) reported a second straight quarterly loss on lower prices for natural gas, and said it may sell some of its undeveloped acreage.

The company plans to raise C$250 million to C$500 million over the next 18 months by selling a portion of its portfolio of equity investments or a sale or joint venture of some of its acreage.

It is also looking at alternatives for its operated land at the Marcellus shale in the northeast region of Pennsylvania, and in Montney and Duvernay fields in western Canada.

Enerplus warned it may cut its capital spending and dividend if commodity prices continue to be low or if it fails to raise funds from asset sale.

The company, which has been paying a monthly cash dividend of 18 Canadian cents per share, said investors could now opt to receive payouts in shares from June 1.

The company will also end its dividend reinvestment plan on May 25, which allowed its Canadian investors to buy shares each month by automatically reinvesting their cash dividend, Enerplus said in a separate statement.

Enerplus said the monetization program is expected to have minimal impact on its current production and reserves.

Production this year is expected to rise by 10 percent to 83,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day .

For the first quarter, the company posted a loss of C$33.8 million, or 18 Canadian cents per share, compared with a profit of C$29.5 million, or 17 cents per share last year.

Natural gas, whose U.S. prices slumped 40 percent in the January-March quarter, accounted for 52 percent of Enerplus’ total production.

The company said it had no plans to shut-in or curtail any of its operated natural gas production, but will monitor prices and activities in its non-operated properties.

Natural gas prices hit fresh lows of $1.90 in April, their lowest in a decade, forcing drillers such as Chesapeake Energy Corp (CHK.N) and EnCana Corp (ECA.TO) to cut down output.

Enerplus said prices for natural gas liquids — which typically include ethane, propane and butane — fell 6 percent to C$56.77 per barrel.

Enerplus fell about 2 percent to C$16.42 on Friday on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

Reporting by Aftab Ahmed and Shounak Dasgupta in Bangalore; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier

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