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ATP Third-Quarter Loss Narrows as New Oil Output Rises

ATP Oil & Gas Corp., one of the first explorers to resume drilling in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico after the Deepwater Horizon disaster, said its loss narrowed in the third quarter as production increased from new wells.

The loss shrank to $5.6 million, or 11 cents a share, from $58.4 million, or $1.15, a year earlier, the Houston-based company said in a statement distributed by Business Wire. ATP was expected to lose 53 cents a share, based on the average of five analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

Chief Executive Officer T. Paul Bulmahn has increased production with new wells at fields such as Gomez in the Gulf of Mexico at a time when prices for the types of crude ATP pumps averaged more than $110 a barrel. The Gulf is home to 96 percent of the company’s oil and natural-gas output.

The announcement was released after the yesterday’s close of regular trading on U.S. markets. ATP rose 1.3 percent to $10.50 at the close in New York on Nov. 8.

The company has been punished by investors, shedding more than a third of its market value this year, after a federal moratorium imposed on Gulf drilling after the worst offshore spill in U.S. history halted exploration.

ATP also has been dogged by a Sept. 26 assessment from Moody’s Investors Service that saw a “high likelihood” that the company may have to restructure its debt because of insufficient cash flow. ATP’s $1.79 billion in net debt exceeds that of 97 percent of its U.S.-based peers, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Chief Financial Officer Albert L. Reese said in a Sept. 29 interview that new wells at fields such as Telemark and Entrada in the Gulf and Cheviot in the U.K.’s North Sea will produce more than enough to cover the company’s debt payments.

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