March 20 (Reuters) - Canada’s Whitecap Resources Inc posted a fourth-quarter profit, helped by acquisition-driven higher production, and said it expects moderate improvements in economic conditions to boost growth for energy companies in western Canada.
Whitecap, whose key operations are in the Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin, said it expects oil prices to remain strong throughout the year.
For the fourth quarter, Whitecap posted net income of C$3.2 million, or 4 Canadian cents a share, compared with a net loss of C$4.1 million, or 12 Canadian cents a share, a year ago.
Revenue jumped nearly five times to C$47.5 million.
Production was up nearly four-fold to 7,806 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boe/d), helped in part by oil-weighted acquisitions.
In February, Whitecap said it would buy light-oil explorer Midway Energy to add complementary assets to its drilling operations in the Pembina Cardium field in Alberta.
Following the deal, Whitecap raised its average production forecast 43.5 percent to about 15,500 boe/d for this year.
“We believe the deal will allow the company to continue its play diversification and push production beyond 16,000 boe/d and on track to over 20,000 boe/d in 2013,” analyst Grant Daunheimer of Dundee Capital Markets said in a note to clients on March 20.
The company had earlier forecast 2012 production to average 11,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day and said it sees capital spending of C$185 million.
Last year, Whitecap bought Spry Energy that expanded its Cardium oil production, while its acquisition of Compass Petroleum boosted its presence in the Saskatchewan Viking area.
Shares of the company, which have risen by a third in the last six months, closed at C$9.24 on Wednesday on the Toronto Stock Exchange.