Canadian Natural Resources Ltd beat analysts’ estimates for fourth-quarter profit on Thursday, as crude prices staged a steady recovery during the period from pandemic-driven lows, also helping boost its dividend.
An uptick in crude and natural gas prices has given operators some respite after a tumultuous 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic wiped out one-fifth of global demand for fuel.
After falling to record lows in the spring, Brent crude prices averaged around $45 per barrel in the fourth quarter.
The company, which operates in the Canadian provinces of Alberta, northeastern British Columbia and Saskatchewan, produced 1.2 million barrels of oil equivalent per day (boepd) in the fourth quarter, compared to 1.1 million boepd in third.
Canadian Natural said average realized prices for crude rose 1% to C$40.56 per barrel, while realized prices for its natural gas, a byproduct of crude production, was C$2.94 in the quarter, excluding hedging, compared to C$2.31 in third.
On an adjusted basis, the Calgary, Alberta-based company posted a profit of C$176 million ($139.16 million), or 15 Canadian cents per share, in the quarter ended Dec. 31, compared with C$135 million ($102.81 million), or 11 Canadian cents, in the third quarter.
Excluding one-items, the company earned 15 Canadian cents per share, beating analysts’ average estimate of 13 Canadian cents, according to Refinitiv data.
The company also hiked its quarterly dividend to 47 Canadian cents per share payable on April 5, compared with the 42.5 Canadian cents dividend it paid on Jan 5. 29dk2902l