HOUSTON, Oct. 28 (UPI) -- While taking a hefty loss for the quarter, U.S. oil and gas company Anadarko Petroleum said it was able to improve costs at operations in domestic shale basins.
Anadarko reported a third quarter loss of $2.24 billion, compared with a profit of around $1.1 billion one year ago. Like its peers in the industry, the Houston-based company is struggling to generate cash at a time when crude oil is selling for about 45 percent less than it did at this time last year.
"We remain committed to building and preserving value in this challenging environment," Anadarko Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Al Walker said in a statement.
Despite the losses, the company said it was improving efficiency and productivity at the exploration side of its operations. In the Wattenberg shale basin, based largely in Colorado, the company said drilling costs were down about 15 percent and sales from the region increased by about 15 percent.
In the Wolfcamp shale region in Texas, the company said improvement in operations meant it was now producing nearly 1 million barrels of oil equivalent per well.
"This emerging oil play is beginning to contend with Wattenberg in terms of the most attractive economics in the company's U.S. onshore portfolio," the company said.
A June report from consultant group IHS finds the Wolfcamp basins has the potential to support steady production even during the weak crude oil market. Compared with other shale basins, this one has some of the best normalized production rates in the country.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration ranks the shale basin within the Permian reserve area among the more lucrative in the nation. A 2013 report from Forbes found drillers are employing the same techniques in the Texas shale as they did in North Dakota, the No. 2 oil producer in the nation. The report notes, however, that Wolfcamp basin may hold several times more oil in potential reserves than the Bakken shale in North Dakota.