Canadian Natural Resources Sees Record 3Q04 Cash Flow

In commenting on third quarter 2004 results, Canadian Natural's (NYSE:CNQ) (TSX:CNQ) Chairman, Allan Markin, stated, "This was yet another milestone quarter for Canadian Natural as we continue to execute our defined growth plan, achieving record results. We have again set quarterly records for crude oil production and cash flow from operations and I believe that with our asset base, our strong track record of profitable growth is set to continue."

"Long-term growth prospects for the Company are enhanced as we move closer to sanction of the Horizon Oil Sands Project. The complexity of this Project is exacerbated by the current environment in which labor and steel prices, to name two, are encountering a great deal of demand. As a result we now expect total Project costs of approximately $9.7 billion with a contingent estimated risked cost of $10.5 billion for the three phases of the development. Our Management and Board of Directors will not compromise on our financial discipline and mission statement beliefs and in order to 'do it right' we will only move forward on the Horizon Oil Sands Project when we are comfortable with our cost estimates and as such, the Company is continuing to gather additional data for the Project in order to make the best decision for our Company and Shareholders. In the interim, work continues and we see no change to our commissioning dates."

Canadian Natural's President, John Langille, in commenting on the financial results of the third quarter, stated, "Continued exploitation and opportunistic acquisitions in our conventional business carried us to new highs, achieving quarterly cash flow in excess of $1 billion. Our earnings for the third quarter represent an increase of 20% over the second quarter of 2004. The Company continues to create long-term value for its Shareholders."

Canadian Natural's Chief Operating Officer, Steve Laut, in commenting on the year ahead, stated, "We are very proud of our achievements to date and are excited about the opportunities that exist for Canadian Natural in 2005 as well as in the mid- and long-term. Horizon is approaching the point in time when the Board of Directors can make an informed decision and with Baobab, Primrose and the upside potential from our acquisitions this year the Company has never had a stronger inventory of projects."


  • Record quarterly crude oil and NGLs production of 297 mbbl/d before royalties (270 mbbl/d net of royalties). This represents an increase of 8% over Q2/2004 production and 20% over Q3/2003 production.
  • Quarterly natural gas sales of 1,396 mmcf/d before royalties (1,091 mmcf/d net of royalties), representing 44% of equivalent production during the quarter. This represents a decrease of 4% over Q2/2004 production and an 8% increase over Q3/2003 production.
  • Record quarterly equivalent production of 530 mboe/d before royalties (451 mboe/d net of royalties), representing the fourth consecutive quarter of overall production growth, a 2% increase from Q2/2004 and a 15% increase over Q3/2003.
  • Record quarterly cash flow of $1,041 million ($3.88 per common share) compared with $758 million ($2.81 per common share) in Q3/2003 and $930 million ($3.47 per common share) in Q2/2004.
  • Net earnings of $311 million ($1.16 per common share) compared with $201 million ($0.75 per common share) for Q3/2003 and $259 million ($0.97 per common share) in Q2/2004. Adjusted net earnings from operations, a non Generally Accepted Accounting Principle ("GAAP") term used by the Company to judge its operational performance, amounted to $381 million ($1.42 per common share) compared with $213 million ($0.79 per common share) for Q3/2003 and $364 million ($1.36 per common share) in Q2/2004.
  • Completed the acquisition of light crude oil producing properties in the Central North Sea, adding approximately 16,000 boe/d of production to the Company's production base.
  • Capital expenditures of $875 million, reflecting third quarter drilling activities and the previously noted Central North Sea property acquisition. During the quarter, Canadian Natural drilled 145 wells with a 93% success ratio.
  • Filed a public disclosure document for regulatory approval of the Primrose East project which is expected to boost production by 30 mbbl/d of bitumen by 2009.
  • Maintained the quarterly dividend of $0.10 per common share for the October 1, 2004 payment.
  • Continued with the repurchase of 73,400 common shares under its Normal Course Issuer Bid.
  • Debt to book capitalization at the end of the third quarter was 33%. In the current pricing environment, debt to book capitalization will stay strong through the end of 2004.
  • Canadian Natural is pleased to announce that the Honourable Frank McKenna, P.C., O.N.B., Q.C., has been appointed a member of the Board of Directors of the Company. Mr. McKenna, the former Premier of the Province of New Brunswick, is currently counsel with the Atlantic law firm of McInnes Cooper.

    The following reconciliation lists the after-tax effects of certain items of a non-operational nature that are included in the Company's financial results for each of the periods reported. Adjusted net earnings from operations is a non-GAAP term that the Company utilizes to evaluate its operational performance and that of its business segments.

    ($ millions, except per common share amounts)
                               Three Months Ended      Nine Months Ended
                           -------------------------- ------------------
                           Sep 30    Jun 30    Sep 30   Sep 30    Sep 30
                             2004      2004      2003     2004      2003
    Net earnings attributable
     to common shareholders
     as reported               $  311 $  259   $  201  $   828   $ 1,153
    Unrealized foreign exchange
     (gain) loss (1)              (80)    28       (9)     (14)     (206)
    Unrealized risk management
     activities(2)                 70     47        -      185         -
    Effect of statutory tax rate
     changes on future income
     tax liabilities(3)             -      -        -      (66)     (247)
    Stock-based compensation
     expense (4)                   80     30       21      151        93
    Adjusted net earnings from
     operations attributable to
     common shareholders       $  381 $  364   $  213  $ 1,084   $   793
     Per share - basic (5)     $ 1.42 $ 1.36   $ 0.79  $  4.04   $  2.95
               - diluted (5)   $ 1.41 $ 1.36   $ 0.78  $  4.02   $  2.89
    (1) Unrealized foreign exchange gains and losses result primarily
        from the translation of long-term debt and preferred securities
        to period end exchange rates and are immediately recognized in
        net earnings attributable to common shareholders.
    (2) Effective January 1, 2004, the Company adopted a new accounting
        standard whereby financial instruments not designated as hedges
        are valued at fair value on its balance sheet, with changes in
        fair value, net of taxes, flowing through earnings. The realized
        value may be different than reflected in these financial
        statements due to changes in the underlying items hedged,
        primarily crude oil and natural gas prices.
    (3) All substantively enacted adjustments in applicable income tax
        rates are applied to underlying assets and liabilities on the
        Company's balance sheet in determining future income tax assets
        and liabilities. The impact of these tax rate changes is recorded
        in net earnings during the period the legislation is
        substantively enacted. During the first quarter of 2004, a
        Canadian province introduced legislation to reduce its corporate
        income tax rate. During 2003, the Canadian Government introduced
        several income tax changes, including rate reductions, for the
        resource industry. Also during 2003, a Canadian Province
        introduced legislation to reduce its corporate income tax rate.
    (4) Commencing with the second quarter of 2003, the Company modified
        its employee stock option plan to provide for a cash payment
        option. The intrinsic value of the outstanding stock options is
        recorded as a liability on the Company's balance sheet and
        quarterly changes in the intrinsic value, net of taxes, flow
        through earnings.
    (5) Restated to reflect two-for-one share split in May 2004.



    The Company's business approach is to maintain large project inventories and production diversification among each of the commodities it produces; namely natural gas, light crude oil and NGLs, Pelican Lake crude oil, primary heavy crude oil and thermal heavy crude oil.

    Total production for the third quarter of 2004 represents an increase of 15% over Q3/2003 and 2% increase over Q2/2004.

    Total natural gas production increased 8% over the previous year, while average North American natural gas production levels in Q3/2004 represented an increase of 9% over the previous year. This strong growth is comprised of approximately 5% organic growth with the remainder being comprised of property acquisitions. As expected, third quarter production decreases from Q2/2004 reflect seasonality caused by a first quarter emphasis on drilling natural gas in winter-access only areas compared with significantly smaller spring and summer drilling programs.

    Record average crude oil and NGLs production during Q3/2004 totalled 297 mbbl/d. This represents an 8% increase over Q2/2004 and a 20% increase over Q3/2003, reflecting drilling successes and accretive acquisitions.

    The Company's production composition before royalties is as follows:

                                  Q3 2004        Q2 2004        Q3 2003
                               mboe/d     %  mboe/d      %   mboe/d     %
    Natural gas                 232.7    44   241.9     47    214.9    46
    Light crude oil and NGLs    128.8    24   118.7     23    118.9    26
    Pelican Lake crude oil       21.0     4    19.6      4     23.5     5
    Primary heavy crude oil      96.3    18   101.4     19     68.3    15
    Thermal heavy crude oil      51.1    10    35.7      7     36.3     8
    Total                       529.9   100   517.3    100    461.9   100

    The Company currently expects 2004 production levels before royalties to average 1,371 to 1,383 mmcf/d of natural gas and 279 to 288 mbbl/d of crude oil and NGLs. Fourth quarter 2004 production guidance before royalties for natural gas is 1,350 to 1,385 mmcf/d of natural gas and 291 to 311 mbbl/d of crude oil and NGLs.

    Drilling Activity (number of wells)
                                          Nine months ended Sep 30, 2004
                                             2004                2003
                                        Gross    Net        Gross    Net
    Crude oil                             249    221          390    366
    Natural gas                           607    537          616    577
    Dry                                    88     82           44     41
    Subtotal                              944    840        1,050    984
    Stratigraphic test / service wells    277    276          378    374
    Total                               1,221  1,116        1,428  1,358
    Success rate
     (excluding strat test /
      service wells)                             90%                 96%

    During the quarter, Canadian Natural drilled 145 net wells, including 6 stratigraphic test and service wells. As much of Canadian Natural's natural gas regions are winter-access only, the Company's natural gas drilling is concentrated in the winter months. Hence the third quarter is typified by declines from second quarter peak production levels and a significant reduction in drilling activity. The spring and summer drilling program is typically comprised of heavy crude oil drilling as well as shallow natural gas drilling in South Alberta.

    During the third quarter, Canadian Natural drilled 99 net wells targeting natural gas, including 26 wells in North Alberta and 19 wells in Northwest Alberta. A total of 43 shallow natural gas wells were drilled in South Alberta during the quarter. This compares with 196 such wells drilled in the same period of 2003. This program reflected both delays due to wetter than normal weather and an intentional reduction as part of the capital reallocations implemented in response to property acquisitions made earlier in the year. The drilling locations originally selected for this region form part of the larger project portfolio and will be drilled at a later date.

    The Company also drilled 36 net wells targeting crude oil during the third quarter 2004. These wells were concentrated in the Company's crude oil region of North Alberta where 22 wells targeting primary heavy crude oil were drilled. Also drilled during the quarter were 14 high-pressure thermal crude oil wells that were drilled and completed at Primrose as part of the 2004 development strategy for the area.

    The total success rate for Canadian Natural's drilling program was 93% for the quarter and 90% for the first nine months, excluding stratigraphic test and service wells. These excellent results reflect the disciplined approach that the Company takes in its exploitation and development programs and the strength of its asset base.

    For the fourth quarter, Canadian Natural has shifted capital spending levels to reduce pressures of a tight winter drilling season by starting earlier. This effort includes the most detailed and organized drilling program in the Company's history and also ensures the procurement of better drilling rigs and crews for the winter season, both of which are an integral part of cost control in an inflationary environment.


    Detailed reviews of benchmark pricing and sensitivity to product pricing, currency exchange, and interest rates are provided in Management's Discussion and Analysis. Overall, product pricing for both crude oil and natural gas increased during Q3/2004 when compared to either Q2/2004 or Q3/2003. Heavy crude oil differentials increased 8% to US$12.55 in Q3/2004 reflecting higher light crude oil prices. The long-term heavy crude oil differential has approximated 30% of WTI benchmark price over a long period of time and during the third quarter, averaged 29% of the WTI benchmark price compared to 30% in Q2/2004 and 29% in Q3/2003. Another major determinant in heavy oil price realizations is cost of diluent required to increase viscosity of the production to meet requirements for transmission in sales pipelines. On a positive note, the cost of acquiring this diluent decreased from the second quarter of 2004, more than offsetting the absolute dollar impact of higher heavy oil differentials, resulting in higher heavy oil price realizations. Current indications are that heavy oil differentials will widen, when expressed as a percentage of WTI, and that diluent costs will increase, both from third quarter levels, with the result that fourth quarter heavy oil price realizations could decrease by up to 10%. This reflects normal seasonality of lower demand for heavy oil during winter months as well as greater supplies of heavy oil on world markets. However, price netbacks remain very robust on a historical basis and continue to support exceptionally high recycle ratios.

    Canadian Natural continues to deliver on its heavy crude oil marketing strategy and in particular its bitumen diluted with synthetic light crude oil or "Synbit" product. The Company is currently marketing 55 mbbl/d of Synbit to refiners located in the U.S. Midwest and plans to expand this effort throughout 2004 to build a solid new market for heavy and synthetic crudes. This incremental market will enhance Canadian Natural's ability to profitably expand heavy crude oil production, and will continue to moderate pressure on traditional diluent costs. As part of an industry initiative to develop new blends of western Canadian crude oils, Canadian Natural, effective December 1, 2004 has capacity to blend up to 140 mbbl/d of Synbit and other crude oil blends. In addition to the Synbit strategy, a portion of this capacity will be dedicated to the Western Canadian Select ("WCS") stream, a new blend of up to 10 different crude oil streams from several different crude producers. WCS resembles a Bow River type of crude with distillation cuts approximating a natural heavy oil with premium quality asphalt characteristics. The new blend will have an API of 19-22 degrees. There is potential for the new blend to become a new benchmark for North American markets, in addition to WTI (West Texas Intermediate), representing a stream that is growing in size. Both current key benchmarks recognized by the market, WTI and Brent (North Sea) are showing significant declines in quantity. This could also enhance the Company's ability to directly financially hedge its product mix.

    The Company utilizes risk management instruments on a portion of its production in an effort to reduce volatility and provide greater certainty that operating cash flows are available to fund capital expenditures. Generally, cost-less collars and puts are utilized against benchmark commodity prices as well as currency exposures. The details of these financial risk management instrument positions are reported in note 11 of the consolidated financial statements. In accordance with new financial reporting standards, Canadian Natural also records mark-to-market valuations of economic price risk management instruments not designated as hedges for accounting purposes. These amounts represent valuations at the balance sheet date had the Company monetized the risk management positions. However, it is the Company's intention to maintain these risk management positions over the production periods noted and therefore the ultimate cost or benefit of the program is indeterminable and will be realized over time. These risk management positions and the mark-to-market valuation are discussed and detailed in Management's Discussion and Analysis.

                                 Net Undeveloped Land  Drilling Activity
                                                as at  Nine months ended
                                         Sep 30, 2004       Sep 30, 2004
                              (thousands of net acres)        (net wells)
    Northeast British Columbia                  1,868                180
    Northwest Alberta                           1,614                108
    North Alberta                               6,538                445
    South Alberta                                 662                180
    Southeast Saskatchewan                        124                 11
    Horizon Oil Sands Project                     117                180
    United Kingdom North Sea                      608                 10
    Offshore West Africa                          940                  2
                                               12,471              1,116

    North American Natural Gas

    Canadian Natural's North American natural gas production and development is focused in four core regions in which the Company dominates the land base and infrastructure. Production during the third quarter was within guidance levels and averaged 1,336 mmcf/d, an increase of 9% or 107 mmcf/d from Q3/2003 and, as expected, a decrease of 4% or 53 mmcf/d from Q2/2004. Approximately half of the increase from the prior year reflects organic growth with the remainder representing accretive property acquisitions.

    The decrease in the third quarter from Q2/2004 production was expected and reflects the seasonality of drilling in the basin. Since the majority of the Company's natural gas drilling occurs in the winter months, the second quarter generally benefits from peak production levels. Although drilling continues in the third and fourth quarters it is generally not sufficient to offset normal production declines. This seasonality was further magnified by a wetter than normal summer in which it became difficult to efficiently drill and complete wells.

    North American Crude Oil and NGLs

    Canadian Natural's North American crude oil and NGLs production averaged a record 214 mbbl/d up 5% from Q2/2004 and 23% from Q3/2003. These record results were attributable to results that exceeded expectations from the new phases of the Primrose South in-situ thermal crude oil facility and accretive acquisitions. Canadian Natural continues the development of its vast heavy crude oil resources. As has been previously articulated, the development of these assets will be brought on stream as the demand for heavy crude oil markets permit. In addition to the potential expansion of markets for Synbit and WCS, the Company is working with refiners to advance expansions of heavy crude oil conversion capacity of refineries in the Midwest United States, and is working with pipeline companies to develop new capacity to the Canadian west coast where crude cargoes can be sold on a world-wide basis. Over the long-term, as these opportunities come to fruition, Canadian Natural will accelerate development of its bitumen resources. During the third quarter, the Company drilled 18 heavy crude oil wells and 14 high-pressure cyclic steam thermal crude oil wells at Primrose.

    As part of this development plan, the Company is continuing with its Primrose thermal project which includes the Primrose North expansion as well as drilling of additional wells in Primrose South project which augments existing production. At Primrose South, production commenced from two new phases that were drilled in 2003. Average in-situ production increased to 51 mbbl/d, up 43% and 41% from Q2/2004 and Q3/2003 respectively. The Primrose North expansion continues to be on track and on budget with total capital expenditures of approximately $300 million expected to be incurred leading to first oil of 30 mbbl/d in 2006.

    Late in the third quarter the Company filed a public disclosure document for regulatory approval of the Primrose East project. This will include a new facility located about 15 kilometres from its existing Primrose South steam plant and 25 kilometres from its Wolf Lake central processing facility. Once completed, Primrose East will be fully integrated with existing operations at Wolf Lake, Primrose South and Primrose North. The new facility is expected to help boost production at greater Primrose by an additional 30 mbbl/d of bitumen by 2009. The Company currently expects to complete its regulatory application by late 2005 with a regulatory decision expected in late 2006.

    The Pelican Lake enhanced oil recovery project also continues on track, through production decline abatement associated with waterflood and through the second quarter drilling of additional producing wells. These activities reversed the trend of five consecutive quarters of production declines. This project seeks to significantly increase recovery efficiency on this vast blanket sand in North Alberta. To date the waterflood has provided initial production increases as expected and has shown positive waterflood response. As such, the Pelican Lake waterflood project will be expanded in 2005. In addition, Canadian Natural will pilot a further enhancement to this process by use of a polymer flood. This polymer flood pilot will commence during 2005 with a three injector, five producer pilot.

    Horizon Oil Sands Project

    Canadian Natural's Board of Directors recognizes the significance of and the opportunities associated with the Horizon Oil Sands Project. The Company's approach to date has been to obtain a higher level of project definition and detailed engineering than has been typical for predecessor projects. This, along with Canadian Natural retaining the role as managing contractor and breaking the Project into numerous manageable pieces that can be individually bid out to different engineering and construction firms, represents a significant departure from past industry norms.

    During the third quarter, site preparation continued and bids were received for a significant portion of the Project. Bids for some components are still in the clarification stage and will necessitate the extension of final sanction for a period of 2 to 4 months. In the interim the Board of Directors has approved additional capital expenditures on the Project to continue the Project development strategy, which includes all actions required to maintain schedule (engineering, procurement and contract awards). This will result in the current expected phase one production date of mid 2008 not being impaired.

    The results of bids received to date indicate that while a significant portion of the contracts to be awarded will be lump sum firm-price bid, overall costs are somewhat higher than originally estimated. The major reasons for these increases include:

  • Significant increases in input steel prices to be used for the Project;
  • Significant increases in input fuel costs to be used for the Project;
  • Significant cost pressures associated with tight labour markets, reflecting heightened project activity levels in Western Canada, and in particular, Alberta; and
  • Apparent risk premiums "built in" to certain lump sum bids as a result of continued volatility in the above items.

  • The current estimate for phase one construction costs now totals approximately $6.1 billion with a contingency estimated risked cost of $6.6 billion. The total for all three phases of the Project is now expected to cost approximately $9.7 billion with a contingency estimated risked cost of $10.5 billion. As a result of the Company's front-end engineering efforts, a higher degree of clarity and cost certainty has been achieved.

    Management believes that while these costs are higher than previous estimates, current and future strip commodity prices continue to provide a project that is as robust as the original estimate would have been at lower price decks. Economically, the Project maintains an expected return on capital of 15% assuming the above capital levels with a long-term WTI price of US$28/bbl and a $0.78 Canada/US exchange rate. Furthermore, from an operational standpoint, Management believes that the appropriate strategies, plans and leadership team are in place to successfully execute the Project.

    The Company currently employs 282 experienced staff and over 450 contract professionals who are working on the Project. As owner/manager, Canadian Natural will develop and execute this plan so as to strive for the delivery of the Project on budget.

    North Sea

    Canadian Natural set record quarterly production of 80 mboe/d as it utilizes its mature basin expertise, and will continue to target accretive acquisitions with exploitation upside potential. During the quarter, two producing wells and one injection well were drilled, including a new sub-sea well in the Lyell Field that is producing about 3 mbbl/d. In addition, the Playfair well was spudded in Q3/2004 and was recently completed with an expected sustained production rate of 4 mbbl/d and sufficient gas to fuel the Murchison Platform for several years.

    Canadian Natural continued implementation of the natural gas reinjection project at the Banff Field in the Central North Sea with reinjection commencing in November 2004. This project is expected to increase overall reservoir recovery by approximately 17 mmbbl net to Canadian Natural, but will result in reductions in natural gas production volumes of approximately 30 mmcf/d. Late in the quarter one of the Kyle sub-sea wells was redirected to Banff utilizing existing pipeline infrastructure resulting in a net production increase from this well of 2 mbbl/d.

    Canadian Natural also completed the acquisition of approximately 16 mboe/d of light crude oil producing properties in the Central North Sea. The acquired properties comprise operated interests of 100% in the T-Block (Tiffany, Toni and Thelma Fields) and 68.68% to 75.29% interests in the B-Block (Balmoral, Stirling and Glamis Fields), together with associated production facilities, including a fixed platform, a Floating Production Vessel ("FPV") and adjacent exploration acreage which is anticipated to add further future development opportunities. Canadian Natural has identified 8 new drilling locations and 9 workovers as well as natural gas lift and waterflood opportunities on these properties. These opportunities coupled with platform and infrastructure maintenance opportunities will serve to increase production, lower operating costs and ultimately extend productive field life of the fields.

    Offshore West Africa

    The development of the Baobab Field, located offshore Cote d'Ivoire continued on time and on budget. Canadian Natural's first deep water development includes eight production wells, three water injection wells and related subsea infrastructure tied back to a Floating Production Storage and Offtake ("FPSO") vessel currently nearing completion in Singapore. To date, production testing on the four drilled production wells has met or exceeded expectations, with the result that Baobab is now expected to flow at approximately 24 mbbl/d net to Canadian Natural, when it comes on production in mid 2005, increasing to approximately 35 mbbl/d in late 2005.

    The Acajou delineation well is expected to spud in late November with completion targeted for early 2005. If drilling results indicate a commercial reservoir, development could be accomplished via subsea tie-back to the East Espoir facilities or, if large enough, a stand alone development.

    At East Espoir, based upon additional testing and an evaluation undertaken in 2004 that revealed a larger quantity of crude oil in place, an additional four wells are scheduled for drilling in 2005. These new producer wells will effectively exploit this additional potential and could add up to 25 mmbbl of recoverable resources from the field. The development of the nearby West Espoir Field is progressing on schedule and is expected to provide approximately 8 mbbl/d of crude oil and 30 mmcf/d of natural gas production net to Canadian Natural commencing spring 2006 through existing FPSO facilities.

    Canadian Natural continues to show discipline in adhering to its core values. Additional review of seismic and geological data on Block 16 located offshore Angola indicate that while significant upside remains a possibility, it maintains a risk level outside the normal operating parameters of the Company. Hence, the Company is evaluating alternatives for its holdings in the Block.


    Canadian Natural is committed to maintaining its strong financial position so as to allow it to withstand volatile crude oil and natural gas commodity prices and the operational risks inherent in the crude oil and natural gas business environment. The Company continues to build the necessary financial capacity to complete the Horizon Oil Sands Project.

    During the first nine months of 2004, strong operational results and product pricing enabled the Company to maintain debt levels at 32.5% of book capitalization despite significant capital expenditures and property acquisitions aggregating $3.2 billion. Corporate debt to cash flow was approximately 0.9 times, while debt to EBITDA was 0.8 times identical to those recorded at December 31, 2003.

    The Company has used excess cash flows derived from higher than expected commodity prices to selectively acquire properties generating future cash flows in its core regions. These targeted acquisitions provide relatively quick repayment of initial investments and will provide additional free cash flow during the construction years of the Horizon Oil Sands Project while still achieving targeted returns. The acquisitions of Petrovera as well as other natural gas properties and the acquisition of properties in the central North Sea meet these reinvestment criteria and further enhance Canadian Natural's ability to complete the Horizon Oil Sands Project. This expansion of the conventional asset base also helps reduce the sole project risk exposure associated with this major development project.

    During the first nine months of 2004, Canadian Natural also utilized its Normal Course Issuer Bid program administered through the facilities of the Toronto Stock Exchange ("TSX") and the New York Stock Exchange ("NYSE") in order to repurchase and cancel 873,400 common shares for a total cost of C$33 million (C$38.01 per common share).

    The Board of Directors declared a quarterly dividend of $0.10 per common share payable January 1, 2005 to Shareholders of record on December 17, 2004.


    The Board of Directors reluctantly accepted the resignation of James T. Grenon from the Board of Directors. Mr. Grenon has been a Director of the Company since September 1988 and served on the Audit Committee and the Compensation Committee of the Board of Directors. The Company would like to thank Mr. Grenon for his years of dedicated service.


    Management is currently in the process of finalizing Canadian Natural's 2005 Budget and will release the details of this budget on November 15, 2004.


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