(Reuters) - Talisman Energy Inc (Toronto:TLM.TO - News) posted a quarterly loss as the sale of some North Sea assets hurt production but the oil and gas company said it expected significant growth in higher-margin liquids output in the second half of this year and into 2014.
The Canadian company, which has been refocusing operations to deal with low natural gas prices, completed the sale of a 49 percent stake in its North Sea operations to Sinopec Corp (Shanghai:600028.SS - News) for $1.5 billion in December.
Chief Executive Hal Kvisle reiterated on Wednesday that Talisman hopes to unlock $2 billion-$3 billion in net asset value through sales or joint ventures, and to exit a number of non-core countries.
The company's plans include the sale of its holdings in the North Duvernay shale-gas region of Alberta and some of its assets in the Montney field, which straddles Alberta and northeastern British Columbia.
Talisman posted a net loss of $213 million, or 21 cents per share, in the first quarter, compared with a profit of $291 million, or 28 cents per share, a year earlier.
The company's loss from operations was $60 million, or 6 cents per share, compared with a profit of $167 million, or 16 cents per share, a year earlier.
Production fell 19 percent to average 372,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boe/d). Adjusting for the UK transaction, production was essentially the same as in the fourth quarter.
Talisman said its North American natural gas volumes continued to decline during the quarter, reflecting limited investment in the current price environment. This decline was largely offset by growth in Norway and Asia-Pacific.
The company's cash flow, a key indicator of its ability to pay for new projects and drilling, fell 39 percent to $517 million, or 50 cents per share.
Revenue and other income fell 45 percent to $1.12 billion in the quarter.
Talisman, however, maintained its production forecast of 375,000 to 395,000 boe/d for the year, and said liquids volumes were expected to rise in the second half in North America, Colombia, Malaysia and Vietnam.
The company stood by its 2013 capital budget of about $3 billion, with 90 percent of spending directed at high netback liquids and international gas opportunities.
(This story is Corrected in paragraph 7 to say adjusted production was flat compared to 4th quarter, not year-earlier period)
(Reporting by Shounak Dasgupta and Bhaswati Mukhopadhyay in Bangalore; Editing by Don Sebastian)