Higher prices and volumes credited as Suncor Energy beats estimates with a $1.47B profit

Storage tanks in the primary extraction plant at the Suncor Fort Hills facility in Fort McMurray Alta, on Monday September 10, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

Suncor Energy Inc. is reporting first-quarter net income that beat analyst expectations thanks to higher oil prices, record downstream results, more oilsands production and a $264-million insurance gain on its assets in Libya.

The Calgary-based oilsands producer and refining giant says it had net earnings of $1.47 billion or 93 cents per share in the three months ended March 31, up from $789 million or 48 cents in the same period of 2018.

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That’s well ahead of analyst forecasts of $709 million or 53 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters Eikon.

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Suncor’s operating profit came to $1.2 billion, compared with $985 million in the first quarter of 2018.

The company reported average realized prices of $62.92 per barrel at its newly expanded Fort Hills oilsands mine, up from $30.57 in the fourth quarter of 2018, as steep discounts on western Canadian oil prices eased following the Alberta government’s imposition of crude production curtailments as of Jan. 1.

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Despite the program, it noted total oilsands production of 657,000 barrels per day, compared to 572,000 bpd a year earlier, thanks to gains at Fort Hills and higher contributions from Syncrude, in which it has a 58.7 per cent stake.

The company says refining and marketing delivered record operating earnings of $1 billion, up from $789 million in the first quarter of 2018.

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