Cenovus posts smaller loss as production more than doubles

Cenovus Energy Inc's third-quarter adjusted profit beat Wall Street estimates on Thursday, as it benefited from the purchase of ConocoPhillips' Canadian oil-sands assets that more than doubled production.

The Canadian oil and gas producer's total production jumped to 590,851 barrels of oil equivalent per day from 273,405 boed a year earlier.

Cenovus paid $13.3-billion in March to buy ConocoPhillips' Canadian oil sands assets. The company trimmed its full-year spending by $100-million, saying it would not hurt production in its core areas.

The third quarter is expected to be the last with Chief Executive Brian Ferguson, who announced his retirement earlier this year.

Ferguson's successor, Alex Pourbaix, formerly of pipeline company TransCanada Corp, takes the helm on Nov. 6, and is expected to continue developing newly-purchased assets and completing divestitures.

Cenovus said on Thursday it still sees a target of $4-billion to $5-billion in asset sales in 2017.

The net loss narrowed to $69-million, or 6 cents per share, in the quarter ended Sept 30 from a loss of $251-million, or 30 cents per share, a year earlier.

The loss includes a charge of $440-million for the sale of its Pelican Lake assets.

Excluding items, the producer earned 28 cents per share, beating analysts' estimate of 14 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.