CALGARY — Baytex Energy Corp. is increasing its 2021 capital budget and production guidance as it reports a smaller first-quarter net loss due to strengthening crude oil prices.

The Calgary-based company says it now expects to spend between $285 million and $315 million, up from between $225 million and $275 million, with most of the increased spending coming in the fourth quarter of the year.

It says it expects average production to be about 78,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day this year, up from previous guidance for an average of about 75,000 boe/d.

Baytex says it had a net loss of $35.4 million in the three months ended March 31.

It posted a net loss of $2.5 billion in the same period of 2020 when it wrote off $2.7 billion in assets due to low oil prices, while chopping spending and temporarily halting 25,000 boe/d of production.

Production during the first quarter this year averaged 78,780 boe/d (81 per cent oil and natural gas liquids), up 12 per cent from the previous quarter thanks to the resumption of drilling activity beginning in late 2020. It was down from 98,452 boe/d in the first quarter of 2020. 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 29, 2021.

Companies in this story: (TSX:BTE)

The Canadian Press