Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. posted a higher quarterly profit that topped street estimates, and said it would cut capital expenditure for the year by about CA$180 million (US$143.3 million), becoming the latest oil and gas company to do so.
Bigger rivals like Anadarko Petroleum and Hess Corp. said in July they would cut capital budgets to adapt to a dip in oil prices, a trend which was not expected when 2017 budgets were crafted.
In March, Canadian Natural had budgeted for about CA$3.9 billion (US$3.1 billion) in capex for the year.
When the quarter ended June 30, the company earned CA$1.07 billion (US$849.3 million), or CA$ 93 cents (US 74 cents) per share.
Excluding items, it earned CA$ 29 cents (US 23 cents) per share, above analysts’ average estimate of CA$ 26 cents (US 21 cents).
The company said oil and natural gas production rose 16.5% to 913,171 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boe/d) in the quarter, from 2016.
Cash flow, a key indicator of a company’s ability to pay for new projects and drilling, climbed to CA$1.73 billion (US$1.37 billion) from CA$938 million (US$746 million) in the year-ago quarter.
During the quarter, Canadian Natural became the majority-owner of the Athabasca Oil Sands project in northern Alberta after buying billions of dollars of oil sands assets from Royal Dutch Shell and Marathon Oil Corp.
The deal makes it one of the top three Canadian oil sands operators along with Suncor Energy and Cenovus Energy that have snapped up assets as foreign oil majors exit the region.