Penn West looks to sell up to $2 bln of assets before 2015

Reuters

* Sees asset sales of $485 mln closing by year-end

* Sets 2014 capital budget $900 mln

* 3rd-quarter profit C$0.06/share vs year-ago loss C$0.14

* Shares ease 3.3 percent in early trading

Nov 6 (Reuters) - Penn West Petroleum Ltd ,one of Canada's biggest conventional oil producers, said itaimed to sell up to $2 billion of assets before 2015 as part ofa plan to focus on projects centered on the Cardium field inAlberta.

Struggling with weak gas prices, Penn West has undertaken aseries of steps, including layoffs and a dividend cut, sinceJune when former Marathon Oil executive David Robertswas appointed chief executive.

Penn West said on Wednesday it would focus on light-oilprojects in Alberta's Cardium, Viking and Slave Point fields asit strived to increase production of liquids to about 80 percentof total output by 2018.

Penn West's shares were down 3.3 percent at C$11.25 in earlytrading on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

The company has already lined up buyers for about $485million of assets in deals expected to close before the end ofthe year, Penn West said.

Penn West also trimmed the high end of its output forecastfor 2013, saying in now expected to produce 135,000 to 137,000barrels of oil equivalent (boe) per day, compared with itsearlier estimate of 135,000-145,000.

Average daily production in 2014 is expected to be105,000-110,000 boe, the majority being oil and natural gasliquids, Penn West said.

Encana Corp, Canada's largest natural gas producer,said on Tuesday it would cut about 20 percent of its workforce,slash its dividend, and focus future spending on just fiveregions rich in oil and gas liquids.

Penn West said its capital budger for 2014 would be $900million, 40 percent of which would be spent on Cadmium. Thebudget for this year could be below its previous estimate of$900 million, the company said.

Penn West reported a net profit of C$27 million ($25.9million), or 6 Canadian cents per share, for the third quarter,compared with a loss of C$67 million, or 14 Canadian cents pershare, a year earlier.

Penn West shares have hardly budged over the past 12 months.The Toronto exchange's main energy index has risen 3.7 percentin the same period.

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