Crescent Point Energy Corp. regained profitability and emerged as an unconventional natural gas producer during the first three months of this year.

The Calgary producer predicted steady improvement for the rest of 2021 would result from the C$900 million ( $720 million) purchase in February of 500 square miles of liquids-rich Duvernay formation acreage from Shell Canada Ltd.

“This strategic transaction is expected to enhance the company’s free cash flow profile and inventory depth, and includes key infrastructure that is expected to lower future capital requirements,” said Crescent Point management.

Performance already experienced a sharp upturn. Recovering prices more than made up for erosion of production volumes because of corporate budget cuts made to adapt to shrinking economies and energy demand during the onset of the Covid-19 virus pandemic.

Oil production dropped year/year to 95,276 b/d from 111,928 b/d. Natural gas liquids (NGL) fell to 13,319 b/d from 17,493 b/d. Natural gas output declined to 64.7 MMcf/d from 71.4 MMcf/d.

However, oil prices fetched by Crescent rebounded to C$63.17/bbl ($50.54) during the quarter, from C$49.21 ($39.37) a year earlier. NGL prices jumped to C$37.70/bbl S$30.16) from C$17.28 ($13.82). Realized gas prices rose to C$4.50/Mcf ($3.60) from C$3.03 ($2.42).

Net income in 1Q2021 was C$21.7 million ($17.4 million), or C4 cents/share (3 cents). A year earlier, asset value cuts because of oil and gas price slumps caused losses of C$2.3 billion (minus $1.8 billion) or minus C$4.40/share (minus $3.52).