​Canadian Natural Resources synthetic crude production jumps 137%

Image: Joey Podlubny/JWN

Canadian Natural Resources has increased its oilsands synthetic crude oil production to well over double its rates from one year ago.

The company reported SCO production of 456,000 bbls/d in the first quarter of 2018, an increase of about 137 percent from 192,491 bbls/d in the first quarter of last year.

It’s not just a result of Canadian Natural’s $12.74-billion acquisition of the Athabasca Oil Sands Project from Shell and Marathon Oil in the second quarter of 2017 — it’s also thanks to “the successful ramp up” of an 80,000 bbl/d expansion at the company’s existing Horizon project, which came online in November.

The 456,000 bbls/d in the first quarter of 2018 is also a full 134,504 bbls/d higher than SCO Canadian Natural’s SCO in the fourth quarter of 2017.

While Canadian Natural has made the decision to no longer separately report production from Horizon and the AOSP, it says the major SCO increase was a

result of a full quarter of production from the Horizon Phase 3 expansion and strong production from the acquired AOSP assets.

The company reported adjusted net earnings of $885 million in the three months ended March 31, beating analyst expectations of $855 million. A year ago, it earned $277 million.

Canadian Natural reported record production of 1.12 million boe/d in the quarter, up from 877,000 boe/d in the year-earlier period.

— With files from the Canadian Press