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UPDATE 1-EQT cuts natgas production in September

Sept 10 (Reuters) - EQT Corp, the biggest U.S. natural gas producer, said this week it reduced natural gas production on Sept. 1 by about 425 million cubic feet per day.

EQT, which made its comments in a presentation on Wednesday at the Barclays CEO Energy-Power Conference, also said it has been “systematically adding hedges to lock-in value” and expects “2021 free cash flow to be greater than 2020.”

The production curtailment was smaller than the company’s last reduction of about 1.4 billion cubic feet of natural gas equivalent (bcfe) per day of gross production on May 16 as demand destruction from the coronavirus cut prices for the fuel to a near 25-year low.

EQT said it restored that output in July with no degradation to well performance.

Analysts said gas prices at the Henry Hub benchmark in Louisiana would drop to an average of $2.00 per million British thermal units (mmBtu) in 2020, their lowest since 1995, as coronavirus demand destruction and ample storage reduces market worries about future price spikes and supply shortages.

Analysts expect gas prices to rise to $2.66 per mmBtu in 2021.

In July, EQT said it produced 346 bcfe in the second quarter at an average realized price of $2.36 per thousand cubic feet equivalent (mcfe). That compares with a total output of 370 bcfe a year earlier at an average realized price of $2.59 per mcfe.

In the third quarter, it expects total sales volume to rise to between 360-380 bcfd.

In July, EQT said it cut capital spending to $303 million in the second quarter from $466 million a year earlier. It has already spent about $565 million of its planned $1.075-$1.175 billion in total capital expenditures in 2020.

Reporting by Scott DiSavino; Editing by David Gregorio

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