CNRL reports $961M Q1 profit up from $583M a year ago

CNRL (Canadian Natural Resources Limited) Horizon oil sands upgrader near Fort McMurray, Alberta.
CNRL (Canadian Natural Resources Limited) Horizon oil sands upgrader near Fort McMurray, Alberta. The Canadian Press Images/Larry MacDougal

Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. reported a first-quarter profit of $961 million, up from $583 million in the same quarter last year, as it benefited from higher prices due in part to Alberta’s mandatory production curtailments.

READ MORE: Who are the winners and losers from the Alberta oil production cut?

The Calgary-based oilsands producer says the profit amounted to 80 cents per diluted share for the quarter ended March 31, compared with a profit of 47 cents per diluted share a year ago.

Revenue totalled nearly $5.25 billion, down from $5.47 billion in the first quarter of last year.

Daily production averaged 1,035,212 barrels of oil equivalent, down from 1,123,546 in the first quarter of 2018.

READ MORE: Suncor still opposed to Alberta oil cuts despite ‘slightly positive’ Q1 impact

On an adjusted basis, CNRL says it earned 70 cents per diluted share from operations compared with 71 cents per diluted share in the same quarter last year.

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Analysts on average had expected a profit of 51 cents per share and revenue of $5.25 billion, according to Thomson Reuters Eikon.

On May 1, CNRL said it was cutting production expectations as damage is repaired from a fire at the Scotford Upgrader northeast of Edmonton in April.

READ MORE: Calgary-based oilsands producer cuts production expectations after fire at Edmonton-area facility

The Calgary-based oilsands producer owns 70 per cent of the facility, which is operated by Shell Canada.

Canadian Natural said it expected average production at the northern Alberta Albian oilsands mines — which supply raw bitumen feedstock for the upgrader to turn into synthetic crude oil — to be reduced to about 245,000 barrels per day in May and June.

READ MORE: CNRL says oil curtailment adjustment will keep ECHO pipeline going and save Alberta jobs