Toronto Star

Canadian Natural to up oil, gas output by 5% in 2021

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CALGARY— The end of Alberta’s oil production curtailmen­t program and purchase of natural gas producer Painted Pony Energy Ltd. earlier this year will help Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. increase production by about five per cent in 2021, it said Wednesday.

The Calgary-based producer said it hopes to grow natural gas output next year by 11 per cent to about 1.65 billion cubic feet per day, while oil and petroleum liquids output will grow by four per cent to about 950,000 barrels per day.

It unveiled a capital budget about 19 per cent larger than the $2.7 billion budgeted for the current year.

“Our 2021 capital budget of $3.2 billion is targeted to deliver five per cent yearover-year boe (barrels of oil equivalent) production growth,” said chief financial officer Mark Stainthorp­e on a conference call to discuss the company’s 2021 budget.

“The strong production increase is a result of our low corporate (resource) decline rate, effective and efficient operation and a modest but increased drilling program as a result of no curtailmen­t and a current improved outlook for commodity prices in 2021.”

Canadian Natural, one of the largest natural gas producers in Canada, added about 279 million cf/d of gas and 4,400 bpd of liquids with its $111-million buyout of Painted Pony, which closed in October.

It said only about $200 million in the 2021 budget will be devoted to growth.

CNQ is forecastin­g $2 billion to $2.5 billion in free cash flow after paying its dividend next year, assuming a West Texas Intermedia­te price of $45 (U.S.) per barrel. The money will be primarily used to reduce debt.

Canadian Natural’s guidance met expectatio­ns, several analysts said in reports.

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