Chesapeake Energy, Devon Energy top Wall Street forecasts as oil soars

FILE PHOTO: Chesapeake Energy Corporation's 50 acre campus is seen in Oklahoma City,

By Liz Hampton

(Reuters) -Shale oil producers Chesapeake Energy Corp and Devon Energy on Tuesday topped Wall Street earnings estimates, as energy demand recovered from pandemic slump and prices hit multi-year highs.

Chesapeake Energy’s third-quarter adjusted net income was $269 million, or $2.38 per share, topping forecasts of $1.68 per share, according to Refinitiv IBES. Devon reported adjusted net income of $733 million, or $1.08 per share, beating expectations of 93 cents a share, according to IBES data.

Producers are benefiting from a run-up in oil and natural gas prices, as the market rebounds from blistering losses during the pandemic. West Texas Intermediate futures are trading around $84 a barrel – a level not seen since 2014, while Henry Hub natural gas futures <NGc1> are around $5.53 per million British Thermal Unit (mmBTU), near a seven-year high.

Despite soaring prices, most publicly traded energy companies have vowed to focus on shareholder returns over increasing production. On Tuesday, Chesapeake and Devon said they anticipated full-year output at or above the upper end of their forecasts, while spending would remain within anticipated ranges.

Devon on Tuesday also said its board had authorized a $1 billion share-repurchase program, which represents 4% of its market capitalization.

Shares of Devon were up 5.5% in after-hours trading to $44.30, while Chesapeake rose 2.14% to $66.77.

Devon said its 2021 production and capital spending would come in at the upper end of its guidance range. Its third quarter production averaged 608,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day and the company said it anticipates production next year in the range of 570,000 to 600,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day.

Chesapeake forecast 2021 adjusted EBITDAX, which excludes exploration expenses, of $2.1 billion to $2.2 billion, up from $1.8 billion to $1.9 billion previously, and increase its total production while holding capital spending steady.

Meanwhile, rival Comstock Resources slightly missed Wall Street estimates, reporting adjusted net income of $91 million, or 34 cents a share, versus estimates of 35 cents a share, according to IBES.

(Reporting by Liz Hampton in Denver; Editing by Cynthia Osterman and David Gregorio)