Encana Corporation (USA) (NYSE:ECA) (TSE:ECA) released the results from its first quarter this morning, posting net earnings of 16 cents a share or $116 million. That’s compared to losses of $431 million in the same quarter a year ago. Operating earnings were 70 cents per share— a 192% year over year increase—or $515 million. In the same quarter a year ago, operating earnings were 24 cents.
Breaking down Encana’s earnings results
“Our strong first-quarter financial and operational results demonstrate that we are making very good progress executing on our strategy and our teams are delivering on virtually all of the targets that we have set to date,” says Doug Suttles, Encana Corporation (USA) (NYSE:ECA) (TSE:ECA) President & CEO, in a statement. “Through our focused capital investment, we continue to build momentum in our core growth areas and we’re accelerating the transition to a more balanced portfolio through the recent transactions that we’ve announced.”
Encana Corporation (USA) (NYSE:ECA) (TSE:ECA) reported that 80% of its capital spending was deployed to its five core growth plays. Strong liquid volumes of 67.9 thousand barrels per day boosted results. That’s a 56% increase year over year. The company reported production of 2.8 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day, which is a 2% decline.
Encana earnings boosted by natural gas prices
The natural gas company said better NYMEX natural gas prices also gave its results a boost. Prices rose 37% quarter over quarter. Encana Corporation (USA) (NYSE:ECA) (TSE:ECA) said prices at the New York Mercantile Exchange were $4.94 per MMBtu. The company’s realized gas price was $5.82 per Mcf.
In addition, Encana Corporation (USA) (NYSE:ECA) (TSE:ECA) saw “higher wellhead realizations relative to local benchmark prices.”
Encana moves forward
Encana Corporation (USA) (NYSE:ECA) (TSE:ECA) said it has made progress on the strategy it set forth in November. It has sold some of its natural gas properties in Wyoming and entered into an agreement to sell some of its natural gas properties in eastern Texas. It also divested most of its U.S.-based Encana Natural Gas Inc. assets and sold its interest in the liquefied natural gas production facility in Alberta.
In addition, Encana Corporation (USA) (NYSE:ECA) (TSE:ECA) filed its prospectus for the initial public offering of PrarieSky Royalty Ltd. and finished a consent tender for its $1 billion 5.8% notes with a May 1, 2014 maturity date. The company also bought about 45,000 net acres in the Eagle Ford oil play.