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Pumpjacks taken out of production temporarily stand idle at a Hess site while new wells are fracked near Williston, North Dakota November 12, 2014. . REUTERS/Andrew Cullen

Hess posts third-quarter loss on crude price slump, beats expectations

Oil producer Hess Corp <HES.N> reported an adjusted quarterly loss on Wednesday but beat expectations as a sharp drop in capital spending and other cost cuts helped offset a 60 percent slump in crude prices <CLc1> in the past year.

Hess said it would further pare costs in 2016, aiming to spend 27 percent less on its capital budget, in a range of $2.9 billion to $3.1 billion.

Much of the reduction will come from the company’s workhorse Bakken shale fields, where it expects to run four drilling rigs next year, about half of the 2015 average. That should depress Bakken output, which rose in the latest quarter by 31 percent to 113,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day.

“We are well positioned in the current low price environment and are taking a disciplined approach to preserve our financial strength,” Chief Executive Officer John Hess said in a statement.

The net loss attributable to Hess was $279 million, or 98 cents per share, in the third quarter, compared with a net profit of $1.01 billion, or $3.31 per share, a year earlier.

Excluding one-time items, Hess lost $1.03 per share.

By that measure, analysts expected a loss of $1.20 per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Production jumped nearly 20 percent to 380,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day during the quarter, though the average selling price Hess received for its crude fell 53 percent to $45.66 per barrel.

Shares of New York-based Hess fell 4.8 percent to $54.18 in early trade.

In related news, Hess Corp. eyeing Watford City for potential field office.

(Reporting by Ernest Scheyder in Williston, N.D., and Swetha Gopinath in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D’Souza and Jeffrey Benkke)

This article was from Reuters and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.