* Raises 2015 production target to 680,000-700,000 boepd
* Quarterly EBITDA down 37 pct to $1.24 bln
* 2016 capex to be “meaningfully” lower - CFO (Repeats to add link to Breakingviews story, no change to text)
By Karolin Schaps
LONDON, Oct 30 (Reuters) - BG Group raised its 2015 production guidance for the second time this year on Friday as Britain’s third-biggest energy company posted a sharp but better-than-expected fall in third-quarter earnings.
BG, which has accepted a $70 billion takeover offer from Shell, cited higher-than-expected output from fields in Brazil and Australia for its higher production guidance.
Its quarterly core earnings fell 37 percent to $1.24 billion, better than the $1.16 billion consensus estimate of analysts polled by the company.
A day earlier BG’s acquirer Shell missed third-quarter expectations as it took an $8.2 billion charge after scrapping projects in the Arctic and Canada.
A continued fall in oil prices since Shell’s acquisition was announced in April has raised concerns among investors that it may be overpaying for BG.
BG’s third-quarter performance could help restore shareholders’ confidence in the deal.
“It’s a good, solid performance,” said Oswald Clint, senior analyst at Bernstein.
“We probably need a few more quarters to convince investors (about the value of the deal) but I believe there will be more quarters showing numbers like this.”
BG’s shares were down 0.1 percent at 0855 GMT on a European oil and gas index down 0.7 percent.
One of BG’s most attractive elements which Shell has highlighted is the company’s flourishing liquefied natural gas (LNG) business.
BG said on Friday it expected the unit’s EBITDA to hit the middle of a $1.3-1.5 billion range this year, despite a fall in LNG prices.
BG’s average realised gas price fell 34 percent in the third quarter and oil prices were down 48 percent year on year.
The company, which typically gives a yearly capital expenditure guidance at full-year results, said it would be “meaningfully lower” in 2016 than the $6.5 billion it intends to spend this year.
“That is partially about disciplined investment and managing our portfolio to really focus on these investments (in Brazil and Australia) that drive value in a period of low oil prices,” Chief Financial Officer Simon Lowth said.
BG also plans to save at least $300 million this year in costs, it said.
The gas-focused company raised its 2015 production outlook to 680,000-700,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boepd) from 650,000-690,000.
The group’s fields lifted third-quarter output to 716,000 boepd, up 26 percent from a year earlier.
Editing by David Goodman and Jason Neely