Devon Energy tops profit estimates on strong demand, boosts share buyback

(Reuters) -Shale oil producer Devon Energy on Monday topped Wall Street estimates for first-quarter profit on high demand for crude oil, and raised its share repurchase program by 50% to $3 billion.

Energy companies have started boosting investor returns since last year with the excess cash they generated aided by higher crude prices.

While crude price fell during the first quarter, nearly 20% lower compared to last year when prices soared to multi-year peaks following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, they were still high enough for producers to remain profitable.

Shale producers Marathon Oil Corp, APA Corp and EOG Resources also posted profit above estimates last week, helped by strong crude prices and demand.

Devon’s production averaged 641,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boepd) in the quarter ended March 31, higher than last year’s 575,000 boepd, driven by a rise in production in it Eagle Ford assets acquired last year.

The Oklahoma City-based company posted adjusted earnings of $1.46 per share for the quarter, compared with the average analyst estimate of $1.38 per share, according to Refinitiv data

Excluding hedging costs, Devon said its realized price fell about 24% to $46.44 per boepd for the first quarter.

(Reporting by Sourasis Bose in Bengaluru; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli)