Canadian Natural Resources Limited (TSE:CNQ) reports strong growth in Q4 profit

Crude oil and natural gas producer Canadian Natural Resources Limited (TSE:CNQ, Mkt cap 47.84B, Div/yield 0.28/2.64, EPS -0.19, Shares 1.11B) has reported encouraging results for the final quarter of 2016, with net earnings rising to $566m compared with $131m a year earlier.

Net income per share was 51 cents, up from 12 cents per share in the fourth quarter of 2015.

For the full year, the company made a net loss of $204m, a considerable improvement from the previous year's net loss of $637m.

Canadian Natural Resources TSE:CNQ strong growth Q4 profitCanadian Natural also announced an increase in its quarterly dividend from 25 cents to 27.5 cents per share, which is payable on April 1.

Steve Laut, president of Canadian Natural, said in a statement: "2016 was a milestone year for Canadian Natural with the continued transition to a long life low-decline asset base with the strong execution and operational results of Horizon Phase 2B. In the fourth quarter of 2016 the company achieved record SCO production of 178,000 bbl/d and record low operating costs of $22.53 were realized as cost efficiencies continue to be a focus.

"Production levels at Horizon continue to be in excess of our 182,000 bbl/d nameplate capacity with December, January and February production averaging approximately 184,000 bbl/d, 195,000 bbl/d and 202,600 bbl/d respectively. Strong production combined with record low operating costs is delivering substantial cash flow generation and as a result our balance sheet is strengthening quickly. This will allow for greater returns to shareholders, as demonstrated by today's 10% dividend increase, economic development of our asset base and potential for opportunistic acquisitions."

In the coming year, Canadian Natural is looking to deliver 6% production growth with a $3.9bn capital program, Laut said.

"With approximately $1.05bn of Horizon Phase 3 expansion capital remaining to be spent in 2017 as a part of this capital program, an additional 80,000 bbl/d of SCO will be added at Horizon," he explained.

Phase 3 of the Horizon oil sands project is expected to start operating in the fourth quarter of 2017.

Canadian Natural Resources Limited (TSE:CNQ) is an independent crude oil and natural gas exploration, development and production company. The Company is engaged in the acquisition, exploration, development, production, marketing and sale of crude oil, natural gas and natural gas liquids (NGLs). Its exploration and production operations are focused in North America, largely in Western Canada; the United Kingdom (UK) portion of the North Sea and Cote d'Ivoire, Gabon, and South Africa in Offshore Africa. The Horizon Oil Sands Mining and Upgrading segment (Horizon) produces synthetic crude oil through bitumen mining and upgrading operations. Within Western Canada, the Company maintains certain midstream activities that include pipeline operations, an electricity co-generation system and an investment in the North West Redwater Partnership (Redwater Partnership), a general partnership formed in the Province of Alberta. More from Reuters »

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