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pct@ (Compares with estimates; adds details on capex, analyst comment, shares)
May 8 (Reuters) - Oil and gas producer Chesapeake Energy Corp on Wednesday reported a bigger first-quarter net loss, as it spent more than analysts had expected and took a hit from lower natural gas and crude prices, sending its shares down 4 percent.
The company's capital expenditure for the quarter was $605 million, while analysts had expected capex of $583.95 million, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.
"Chesapeake continues to outspend..., which we forecast to continue for the near future along with the sizeable debt/preferreds," analysts at SunTrust Robinson Humphrey wrote in a note.
U.S. oil producers have been under pressure from investors to cut spending and return cash to shareholders through dividends and share buybacks.
Chesapeake's daily average production fell 12.6 percent to 484,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boepd) in the quarter, but beat analysts expectations 466,169 boepd, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.
Average realized prices for natural gas fell 12 percent to $3.07 per thousand cubic feet, natural gas liquids fell 21 percent to $20.03 per barrel, while oil prices fell marginally to $56.86 per barrel.
The Oklahoma-based company has been focusing more on oil production over natural gas after its operations took a hit due to lower natural gas prices.
Chesapeake closed its acquisition of Texas oil producer WildHorse Resource in a nearly $4 billion deal in February, adding to its acreage in Texas.
Net loss available to the shareholders widened to $44 million, or 3 cents per share, in the first quarter ended March 31, from $6 million, or 1 cent per share, a year earlier.
On an adjusted basis, Chesapeake earned 14 cents per share, in line with analysts' expectation. (Reporting by Shanti S Nair and Debroop Roy in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur)