Canadian oil sands producer Suncor reports production increase from third quarter, though profits down during depressed market. Photo courtesy of Suncor
CALGARY, Alberta, Oct. 29 (UPI) -- Canadian oil company Suncor said production for the third quarter was up 9 percent year-on-year at a time when surplus is driving industry profits down.
"Our focus on operational discipline continues to pay off," President and Chief Executive Officer Steve Williams said in a statement.
Suncor, the largest energy company in Canada, reported total production for the third quarter of 566,100 barrels of oil equivalent per day, up 9 percent year-on-year, because of strong results from British output and Canadian oil sands operations. Oil sands, which accounted for the vast majority of the company's output, increased in production by 4.5 percent from third quarter 2014.
Crude oil prices are depressed in part because markets are favoring the supply side at a time when global economic growth is slow. The price Thursday for Brent, the global benchmark price for crude oil, is 44 percent less than this date in 2014.
Lower crude oil prices have translated to weaker profits for energy companies. Suncor, which has headquarters in Calgary, reported a third-quarter net loss of $284 million, compared with a $694 million profit taken one year ago.
For Canada, the burden of lower crude oil prices is compounded by lower imports from the United States, its primary export market. Alberta's energy minister in early October said it was China that offered an "enormous potential" for the industry, both in terms of a potential investor and customer.
Suncor representatives accompanied provincial leaders during a recent trade mission to China. Combined investments from Chinese oil and gas companies already represent about $27 billion for the provincial economy.
In early October, Suncor offered about $3.2 billion for rival Canadian Oil Sands Ltd. in a hostile bid. Suncor's CEO said the deal was "financially compelling," through Canadian Oil Sands has said the offer was too low.