February 9, 2017 / 10:44 AM / a year ago

UPDATE 1-MEG Energy posts smaller-than-expected loss on lower costs

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Feb 9 (Reuters) - Canadian oil sands producer MEG Energy Corp reported a smaller-than-expected quarterly loss as production costs fell.

MEG, whose key operations are in the Athabasca oil sands region in Alberta, said net operating costs fell 3.3 percent to C$8.24 per barrel in the fourth quarter.

The company’s non-energy operating costs fell 11.8 percent to C$4.99 per barrel in the three months ended Dec. 31.

MEG’s quarterly revenue also topped analysts’ estimates as the average realized price for bitumen jumped 56 percent in the quarter.

However, bitumen production fell 2.1 percent to 81,780 barrels per day (bpd).

MEG’s net loss widened to C$305 million ($232.42 million) or C$1.34 per share, for the quarter from C$297 million, or C$1.32 per share, a year earlier.

Excluding items, the Calgary, Alberta-based company lost 32 Canadian cents per share.

Revenue rose 27.2 percent to C$566 million.

Analysts’ on average had estimated adjusted earnings of 33 Canadian cents per share and revenue of C$523.5 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

$1 = 1.3123 Canadian dollars Reporting by Arathy S Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Amrutha Gayathri and Anil D'Silva

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