Calgary-based Suncor Energy Inc.’s upstream production during the third quarter climbed from a year ago on strong performance from its oilsands portfolio.

Suncor Energy Earnings

Total production rose to 698,000 boe/d from 616,200 boe/d in 3Q2020, propelled by the northern Alberta facilities, where 91% of the upstream output originates at mines and in-situ underground extraction plants. 

“We continue to execute on our commitment to operational excellence across our assets,” CEO Mark Little said. “During the third quarter of 2021, Suncor once again outperformed the Canadian refining average, achieving 99% utilization at our refineries, and capturing funds from operations that exceeded the comparable 2019 levels in the downstream business.”

Suncor also “completed the largest annual maintenance program in the company’s history,” he said.
The five-year turnaround was completed at the Oil Sands Base plant Upgrader 2 in northern Alberta, “enabling us to return to normal production rates across our asset base in the fourth quarter.”

Business environment assumptions for 2022 “are significantly improved…due to the substantial improvements in market conditions,” management said. 

Capital spending for 2022  is expected to be about C$4.7 billion ($3.8 billion), which is $300 million ($243 million) below the $5 billion ($4 billion) annual cap outlined by management earlier this year.  After funding the capital program and dividend, plans are to allocate half of the available funds to share buybacks and half toward debt reduction.

During 3Q2021, Suncor took over as operator of the Syncrude Project, a joint venture considered a “critical step toward driving greater integration, efficiencies and competitiveness across all Suncor- operated assets in the region.”

In addition, Suncor and the co-owners of the Terra Nova field offshore Newfoundland and Labrador finalized an agreement to restructure and move forward with an asset life extension project, which is expected to increase production life by another decade.

In other news, Suncor and eight Indigenous communities during September formed Astisiy Ltd., which has agreements to acquire a 15% equity interest in the oilsands conduit Northern Courier Pipeline. The pipeline connects the Fort Hills oilsands facility to Suncor’s East Tank Farm.

Net earnings during 3Q2021 were $877 million ($710 million) or 59 cents/share (48 cents), compared with a year-ago loss of $12 million ($10 million), or minus 1 cent. Operating cash flow was $4.7 billion ($3.8 billion) for the quarter, compared with $1.2 billion ($970 million) in 3Q2020.