Crescent Point posts surprise loss on steep heavy crude discount

(Reuters) - Crescent Point Energy Corp CPG.TO posted a surprise first-quarter loss on Thursday and trimmed its 2018 capital expenditure forecast, as transportation bottlenecks in Canada forced oil producers to sell crude at bigger discounts.

Western Canadian Select, the benchmark for heavy crude, traded at a discount of more than $25 to U.S. light crude CLc1 in late January, the biggest gap between the two in four years.

Crescent Point, which has core operations in the Williston and Uinta basins in the United States and southwest Saskatchewan in Canada, cut 2018 capital expenditure forecast to C$1.78 billion from C$1.80 billion.

The company also said it would sell some assets by the end of the second quarter to raise about C$225 million to reduce debt.

Operating expenses rose about 9 percent to C$12.94 million in the reported quarter, while net debt rose about 11 percent to C$4.40 billion.

The Calgary, Alberta-based company reported a net loss of C$90.7 million, or 17 Canadian cents per share, in the quarter ended March 31, compared with a profit of C$119.4 million, or 22 Canadian cents per share, a year earlier.

Excluding items, the company lost 17 Canadian cents per share, while analysts’ were expecting a profit of 7 Canadian cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Crude production in Canada rose 8 percent last year to a record 4.2 million barrels per day and is forecast to keep rising.

Crescent Point’s total average daily production rose to 178,418 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boe/d) from 173,329 boe/d.

Reporting by Taenaz Shakir in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta and Anil D’Silva