(Adds details on oil sands production, estimates)
July 26 (Reuters) - Cenovus Energy's total oil and gas production surged 61 percent in the second quarter as it benefited from higher global demand, the Canadian company said on Thursday, signs that a rise in oil prices is helping the company turn around its business.
The Calgary, Alberta-based company has cut jobs, sold off assets and named a new CEO to clean up its balance sheet following an unpopular deal with Conocophillips in March last year that saddled it with heavy debt.
The company's total production rose to 518,530 barrels of oil equivalent per day in the second quarter ended June 30, from 322,792 boe/d a year earlier.
The results come in the backdrop of surging Canadian oil sands production that is straining pipeline capacity across the country. Canadian oil sands production will rise more than half a million barrels per day in 2019, according to data firm IHS Markit.
Cenovus, like other oil and gas producers, has been negotiating with rail companies to transport oil as pipelines run in full capacity.
The company, which had committed to transport oil through Keystone XL and Trans Mountain pipelines, said on Thursday it is beginning to see increased activity across its rail loading facilities.
The company's posted a net loss of C$410 million ($314 million), or 33 Canadian cents per share, in the second quarter, compared with a profit of C$2.56 billion, or C$2.30 per share, a year earlier due to a fall in its cash flow.
Cash from operating activities plunged to C$533 million from C$1.2 billion as the company sold off assets to reduce debt. As of Dec. 31, Cenovus had long-term debt of C$9.51 billion.
On an adjusted basis, the company reported a loss of 24 Canadian cents per share, while analysts on average had expected a profit of 3 Canadian cents, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. ($1 = C$1.30) (Reporting by Laharee Chatterjee in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel)