Alberta’s Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. is taking a glass-half-full view of the current natural gas price slump, according to CEO Scott Stauth.

Stauth hosted a conference call to discuss first quarter earnings for Calgary-based Canadian Natural, one of the country’s largest independent natural gas producers. The company’s gas-focused operations target the Montney Shale and Alberta Deep Basin, among other plays. 

Canadian Natural also is a substantial producer of heavy crude oil as well as synthetic crude oil derived from bitumen extracted from Canadian oilsands. Because of the energy intensive nature of bitumen upgrading, “we are a large consumer of natural gas in our oilsands operations,” said Stauth. The company markets about one-third of its gas production to the...