EQT Cuts Sales Volume Forecast, Extends Output Curbs as Natural Gas Prices Stay Low

(Reuters) — EQT Corp. on Tuesday cut its forecast for full-year sales volume and extended production curtailments through May, as the largest U.S. natural gas producer looks to tackle persistently low prices for the commodity.

Natural gas NGc1 prices plunged 20.4% in the first quarter on higher-than-expected output, warmer winter and outages at LNG facilities.

EQT now expects full-year sales volume of between 2,100 billions of cubic feet equivalent (Bcfe) and 2,200 Bcfe, compared with 2,200 Bcfe and 2,300 Bcfe earlier.

The company extended curtailments of 1 billion cubic feet per day through May, adding it could continue thereafter depending on market conditions. It had previously expected to curtail production until March.

"We expect the gas E&P group could see another tailwind from EQT's decision to extend its production curtailments and think other operators should follow suit until meaningful demand rebalances the market," said Bertrand Donnes, analyst at Truist Securities.

Peers including Chesapeake Energy, Coterra Energy and Antero Resources have unveiled plans to cut production.

Last month, EQT agreed to buy Equitrans Midstream to lower costs to produce and transport its natural gas to market by adding more than 2,000 miles of pipelines.

EQT reported a slump in net income attributable to company the to $103 million, from $1.22 billion in the year-ago quarter, largely weighed down by a sharp drop gain from derivatives.

The Appalachian Basin-focused operator's quarterly operating revenue fell 46.9% to $1.41 billion.

Still, the company reported a profit of 82 cents per share for the three months ended March 31, above analysts' average estimate of 64 cents, according to LSEG data.

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