May 15, 2012 / 9:39 PM / 6 years ago

UPDATE 1-Birchcliff says cheap natgas complicates growth plans

* Q1 EPS C$0.03 vs C$0.07 year earlier

* Rev flat at C$62.8 mln, production up 19 pct

* Says has flexibility to slow down or expand spending

May 15 (Reuters) - Natural gas producer Birchcliff Energy Ltd, which dropped a plan to sell itself in March, reported a 61 percent fall in quarterly profit and said lower prices for the fuel has complicated its growth plans.

The company, which has seen its market value halving to about C$790 million in a year, ended the sale process as it failed to receive a “fair-value offer” because of decade-low gas prices.

Birchcliff, which has set a capital budget of C$292 million for this year, said on Tuesday it has the flexibility to slow down or expand its spending as it operates most of its fields.

First-quarter net income fell to C$3.7 million, or 3 Canadian cents per share, from C$9.6 million, 7 Canadian cents per share, a year earlier.

Petroleum and natural gas revenue at the Calgary, Alberta-based company was flat at C$62.8 million, while production averaged 19 percent higher at 21,061 barrel of oil equivalent per day.

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