Calgary, Alberta – Canadian Natural’s (TSX: CNQ) (NYSE: CNQ) President, Tim McKay, commented “Our key advantages are our committed and dedicated work teams and our large, high quality asset base including long life low decline assets which provides us optionality and flexibility to allocate capital to our highest return projects. In 2022 our diversified production mix is targeted to consist of approximately 46% light and synthetic crude oil, 28% heavy crude oil and 26% natural gas, at the mid-point of our targeted production range. Our assets have low maintenance capital requirements, and combined with our strong operating teams and our effective and efficient operations, we drive industry leading free cash flow, making Canadian Natural unique, robust and sustainable.
Our 2022 budget is targeting base capital of approximately $3.6 billion that delivers targeted production of approximately 1,270,000 BOE/d to 1,320,000 BOE/d, with disciplined year over year near-term growth of approximately 60,000 BOE/d derived primarily from production growth in our conventional E&P operations. Also in 2022, strategic growth capital of approximately $0.7 billion will be allocated to our long life low decline assets which targets to add incremental annual production in 2023 and beyond, resulting in approximate total increases in production of 63,000 bbl/d by 2025. Safe, reliable, low cost operations continue to be a focus for the Company, as we maximize value for our shareholders in 2022 and beyond.”
Canadian Natural’s Chief Financial Officer, Mark Stainthorpe, continued “In 2021 the Company executed on a disciplined capital program and delivered robust free cash flow resulting in significant debt reduction of approximately $7.3 billion, with year end 2021 net debt levels of approximately $14 billion. We also continued to deliver value to our shareholders in 2021 through approximately $1.6 billion in share repurchases and our two quarterly dividend increases for a combined 38%, which marked the 22nd consecutive year of dividend increases. Beyond our base capital budget of approximately $3.6 billion, Canadian Natural is targeting incremental strategic growth capital expenditures of approximately $0.7 billion in 2022, all in Alberta, as a result of the attractive fiscal and income tax environment in Alberta. These incremental expenditures will not only generate economic returns for the Company and its shareholders, but will create jobs and additional royalties and income taxes in Alberta in future years. In 2022, with our disciplined capital budget, we target significant free cash flow after current dividend requirements. Since achieving net debt levels in 2021 below $15 billion, in 2022 we will target to allocate 50% of free cash flow to share repurchases and 50% of free cash flow to the balance sheet, less strategic growth capital/acquisitions, all as defined in our free cash flow allocation policy.”
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE 2022 BUDGET
- The Company’s high quality, large, balanced and diverse asset base is complemented by an extensive network of owned and operated infrastructure and is supported by a deep inventory of long life low decline assets, as well as conventional E&P assets. The Company’s focus on effective and efficient operations drives high return on capital projects that deliver industry leading free cash flow.
- Our ability to be nimble and flexible with capital allocation decisions within our asset base is a significant competitive advantage as we can allocate capital to the highest return projects without being reliant on any one commodity type, maximizing shareholder value.
- Canadian Natural’s 2022 base capital is disciplined, targeted at approximately $3.6 billion, and the Company targets to deploy incremental strategic growth capital of approximately $0.7 billion.
- Production in 2022 is targeted between 1,270 MBOE/d and 1,320 MBOE/d, resulting in year over year growth of approximately 60,000 BOE/d derived primarily from production growth in our conventional E&P operations. Planned turnarounds at our Oil Sands Mining and Upgrading assets, which are incorporated in the above 2022 production target, are expected to impact yearly production volumes by approximately 35,000 bbl/d.
- Product mix is targeted at approximately 46% light and synthetic crude oil, 28% heavy crude oil and 26% natural gas.
- Liquids production, including synthetic crude oil, is targeted to range from 940,000 bbl/d to 982,000 bbl/d, of which long life low decline production is targeted to be approximately 78% of total liquids production.
- Conventional E&P liquids production is targeted between 250,000 bbl/d and 267,000 bbl/d.
- Natural gas production is targeted between 1,980 MMcf/d to 2,030 MMcf/d, representing significant growth of approximately 18% from targeted 2021 levels, as capital investment within the Company’s natural gas portfolio increased throughout 2021 driving strong exit production.
- Our 2022 budget includes mid- and long-term strategic growth capital of approximately $0.7 billion that targets to add production and capacity in our long life low decline thermal in situ and Oil Sands Mining and Upgrading assets.
- Thermal in situ production is targeted to add approximately 22,000 bbl/d in 2024, increasing to approximately 49,000 bbl/d in 2025.
- Strategic growth capital being allocated to Oil Sands Mining and Upgrading in 2022 is targeted to reduce required turnaround times in the future, increasing the capacity of zero decline, high value production by approximately 5,000 bbl/d of SCO in 2023, increasing to approximately 14,000 bbl/d of SCO in 2025.
- The forecast capital and growth in production by year for this strategic growth capital is as follows:
|Targeted Strategic Growth Capital ($ million)||$||700||$||465||$||45||–|
|Production Growth (bbl/d)(1)||–||~5,000||~27,000||~63,000|
(1) Additional production growth from 2022 targeted volumes and reflects 12 month average production.
PRODUCTION AND CAPITAL EXPENDITURES
Canadian Natural’s strategy of maintaining a large, diverse portfolio of assets enables the Company to maximize shareholder value through flexible capital allocation and optimized product mix. Annual budgets are developed and scrutinized throughout the year and can be changed, if necessary, in the context of price volatility, project returns and the balancing of project risks and time horizons. Canadian Natural maintains a high ownership level and operatorship in its properties and can therefore control the nature, timing and extent of expenditures in each of its project areas.
|Daily Production Volumes (before royalties)||2021
|Natural gas (MMcf/d)||1,693||1,980 – 2,030|
|Conventional E&P Crude Oil & NGLs (Mbbl/d)||245||250 – 267|
|Thermal and Oil Sands Mining & Upgrading (Mbbl/d)(1)||708||690 – 715|
|Total Liquids (Mbbl/d)||953||940 – 982|
|Total MBOE/d||1,235||1,270 – 1,320|
(1) Reflects planned downtime for turnaround activities at Horizon, Scotford and Canadian Natural’s 70% ownership in the AOSP, impacting 2022 annual production by approximately 35,000 bbl/d.
Note: Rounded to the nearest 1,000 bbl/d. See Advisory for cautionary statements, definitions, pricing assumptions and Non-GAAP and other financial measure disclosure.
|Net Capital Expenditures ($ million)||2021
|Strategic Growth Capital||–||$||700|
(1) 2021 forecast excludes net acquisition costs.
Details of the Canadian Natural’s leading ESG performance can be found in the Company’s 2020 Stewardship Report to Stakeholders on the Company’s website at www.cnrl.com.
A conference call and webcast will include a presentation to be held at 9 a.m. Mountain Time, 11 a.m. Eastern Time on Tuesday, January 11, 2022. The North American conference call number is 1-866-521-4909 and the international conference call number is 001-647-427-2311.
Note: The presentation will be available for download on the home page of our website 30 minutes prior to the call.
The conference call and presentation will be broadcast live and may be accessed on the home page our website at www.cnrl.com.
An archive of the broadcast will be available until 6:00 p.m. Mountain Time, Tuesday, January 25, 2022. To access the rebroadcast in North America, dial 1-800-585-8367. Those outside of North America, dial 001-416-621-4642. The conference archive ID number is 4399216.
Canadian Natural is a senior oil and natural gas production company, with continuing operations in its core areas located in Western Canada, the U.K. portion of the North Sea and Offshore Africa.