Murray Edwards was not born with a silver spoon in his mouth. As the son of an accountant and a school teacher in Regina, he started his journey towards becoming a billionaire armed with a commerce degree from the University of Saskatchewan and a law degree from the University of Toronto.
The early days of Canadian Natural Resources (CNRL) in 1989 involved a company operating with nine employees, just over a 1,000 b/d of production and a market capitalization of just $1 million.
Edwards grew CNRL steadily through the 1990s. A huge turning point in the company’s history was the $1.6-billion acquisition of BP Amoco’s Canadian business arm. That deal gave birth to CNRL’s domestic oil business, which higher oil prices soon lifted. Today, CNRL has an incredible 850,000 b/d of production, nine billion barrels of proved and probable reserves and employs more than 6,600 people.
The company is also very well positioned to keep growing through these low commodity prices. From 2017 through 2019, CNRL is estimating that, at an average oil price of $60 for WTI, the company will generate nearly $9 billion in free cash flow.
That’s excess cash flow after all capital spending. That cash can be directed towards dividends, share repurchases, debt reduction or whatever opportunities should happen to pop up. More impressive is that CNRL can do all that while growing production at a rate of eight percent per year. That is unique in this world, where shale focused producers struggle to maintain production while living within their cash flows. And, if oil prices soon head higher, all the better.
CNRL CHAIR MURRAY EDWARDS