Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. (CNQ), the nation’s largest producer of heavy oil, said third-quarter profit more than tripled as it pumped record amounts of crude.
Net income rose to C$1.17 billion ($1.12 billion), or C$1.07 a share, from C$360 million, or 33 cents, a year earlier, the Calgary-based company said today in a statement. Excluding one-time items, per-share profit was 93 cents, exceeding the 90-cent average of 15 analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg.
Canadian Natural said last month it had record oil production of about 508,000 barrels a day in the third quarter amid “robust” pricing. An expansion of the company’s Horizon oil-sands project reached about 30 percent of completion during the period, with costs currently “slightly” below estimates.
Spot prices for Western Canada Select, the nation’s heavy-oil grade, advanced 8.3 percent from a year earlier to average $83.10 a barrel in the quarter, according to figures compiled by Bloomberg. Canadian Natural raised its dividend to 20 cents a share starting in the fourth quarter, an increase of 60 percent.
The company in July lowered its 2014 oil output target by 10,000 barrels a day on expectations a leak that continues at its Primrose oil-sands project will restrict the steam injection used in production.
“Steam remains shut-in at Primrose East, and there is little visibility for it resuming in the near term,” Chris Feltin, an analyst at Macquarie Capital Markets Canada Ltd., wrote in an Oct. 10 note to clients.
Canadian Natural reported results before the start of regular trading on North American markets. The stock, which has gained 13 percent this year, rose 0.2 percent to C$32.49 yesterday in Toronto. Canadian Natural has 18 buy, four hold and two sell recommendations from analysts.
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