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Chesapeake Energy net loss widens on weaker output, lower crude prices

May 8 (Reuters) – Oil and gas producer Chesapeake Energy Corp said on Wednesday its first-quarter net loss widened, hit by a fall in production and lower crude prices.

Average sales price for oil fell 10.5 percent to $57.80 per barrel in the quarter, the company said, offsetting benefits of higher oil output from the lucrative U.S. shale basins.

Crude prices averaged $54.9 per barrel in the quarter, 12.8 percent lower than a year earlier.

Chesapeake’s daily average production fell 12.6 percent to 484,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boepd) in the quarter, but beat analysts expectations 466,169 boepd, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

The Oklahoma-based company has been focusing more on oil production over natural gas after its operations took a hit due to lower natural gas prices.

Chesapeake said it expects oil to constitute 24 percent of its total production this year compared with 17 percent last year. Oil production rose 25 percent to 10 million barrels in the quarter.

Net loss available to the shareholders of the Oklahoma-based natural gas and oil producer widened to $44 million, or 3 cents per share, in the first quarter ended March 31, from $6 million, or 1 cent per share, a year earlier.

Reporting by Shanti S Nair in Bengaluru;Editing by Arun Koyyur

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