(Compares with estimates, adds background)
Jan 29 (Reuters) - U.S. oil and gas producer Hess Corp on Wednesday reported a bigger-than-expected quarterly loss, as lower prices for its natural gas and natural gas liquids more than offset higher production at its Bakken shale assets in North Dakota.
The company said average selling prices for natural gas fell 27.8% in the fourth quarter, while natural gas liquids prices fell 34.5%.
A long and steady increase in U.S. gas production – much of it a byproduct of the shale oil boom – has pushed prices for the fuel toward a near two-decade low.
The New York-based company said production from Bakken rose 38% to 174,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boe/d) pushing total production, excluding Libya, up 18.4% to 316,000 boe/d.
The company said on Tuesday it would spend 11% more in 2020 as it bets on its Bakken shale play and offshore Guyana, where it is part of a consortium led by oil major Exxon Mobil Corp to develop one of the world's most important oil and gas blocks in the last decade.
The group raised Guyana oil estimates by 2 billion barrels this week, bringing the total recoverable oil and gas resources to more than 8 billion barrels.
Adjusted net loss widened to $180 million, or 60 cents per share, in the quarter ended Dec. 31, from $77 million, or 31 cents per share, a year ago.
Analysts on an average had expected the company to post a loss of 52 cents, according to IBES data from Refinitiv. (Reporting by Shanti S Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Amy Caren Daniel)