Husky Energy beats profit, boosted by higher crude prices

(Reuters) - Husky Energy Inc HSE.TO reported a better-than-expected quarterly profit on Thursday, as higher Canadian crude prices following Alberta government's mandatory output cuts more than offset the company's lower production and weak refining margins.

The Calgary-based company said average realized prices rose 7.3% to $53.35 per barrel of oil equivalent after the mandatory curtailment on oil production during the quarter to ease export pipeline congestion.

Husky’s average quarterly production fell 9.2% to 268,400 barrels of oil equivalents a day in the reported quarter as the company complied with the curtailments.

The government's move has been a shot in the arm for some producers, but been detrimental to some integrated companies such as Husky Energy and Imperial Oil IMO.TO, which benefit from low-cost oil to run through their refineries.

Average realized U.S. refining and marketing margin fell to $14.16 per barrel of oil in the quarter from $16.66 a year earlier.

Husky’s throughput, the amount of crude processed at its refineries, also fell 4.2% to 340,000 barrels per day due to planned turnarounds at two of its refineries and as operations remained suspended at another refinery.

Net earnings fell to C$370 million, or 36 Canadian cents a share, in the second quarter ended June 30, from C$448 million, or 44 Canadian cents a share, a year earlier.

Net earnings included a one-time tax gain of C$233 million and a negative adjustment of C$77 million.

Excluding items, the company earned 32 Canadian cents per share, well above the 26 Canadian cents expected by analysts, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

Reporting by Taru Jain and Shradha Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli