Suncor Energy (NYSE:SU), a prominent player in Canada’s energy landscape, has outperformed market expectations for third-quarter profit, buoyed by robust refining margins and increased sales volumes from its oil sands operations.
The stable demand for refined products during the quarter, despite voluntary production cuts from major OPEC+ oil producers like Saudi Arabia and Russia, played a significant role in Suncor’s success. The company’s refinery utilization hit an impressive 99%, a substantial increase from the 85% reported in the second quarter. Although refinery throughput saw a marginal decline to 463,200 barrels per day (bpd) compared to the previous year, the strong performance underscores the resilience of Suncor’s refining operations.
Suncor’s total upstream production experienced a dip to 690,500 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boepd), down from 724,100 boepd the previous year, primarily due to international asset divestments. The sale of its British oil and gas business to Norway’s Equinor earlier in March contributed to this shift.
However, the net production of synthetic crude, a processed form of raw and heavy bitumen, witnessed a noteworthy increase to 469,300 bpd, compared to 405,100 bpd a year ago. This growth is attributed to lower maintenance activities.
Suncor anticipates the return of its Terra Nova offshore site to service in the fourth quarter, indicating a positive outlook for the coming months.
On an adjusted basis, Suncor reported earnings of C$1.52 per share in the quarter ending Sept. 30, surpassing analysts’ average estimate of C$1.36 per share, according to LSEG data. The company reported a net profit of C$1.54 billion, a remarkable turnaround from a year-ago loss of C$609 million, which was influenced by impairment charges.
Suncor’s strong performance aligns with a broader trend in the industry, as evidenced by the recent positive quarterly report from peer Cenovus Energy. The boost in profits for both companies underscores the resilience and adaptability of the energy sector amidst changing market dynamics.
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