Suncor Ramps Up Megaprojects as Refining Arm Protects Prices
(Bloomberg) -- Suncor Energy Inc. is barreling ahead on the ramp-ups of the Fort Hills and Hebron oil megaprojects as its refining operations protect it from the pipeline shortages and lower prices that are slamming competitors.
Canada’s largest oil producer by market value said Tuesday that Fort Hills, an oil-sands mine in Alberta, and Hebron, an offshore development along the nation’s Atlantic coast, are both ahead of schedule. The progress helped Suncor post output of 689,400 barrels of oil equivalent a day last quarter, topping analysts’ 685,630-barrel average estimate.
The megaprojects are coming online in the midst of a fierce battle over pipelines to haul away western Canadian crude. Kinder Morgan Inc. has threatened to abandon its Trans Mountain expansion over opposition from British Columbia, while TransCanada Corp.’s Keystone XL and Enbridge Inc.’s Line 3 remain in limbo amid regulatory issues and legal challenges.
While the pipeline bottleneck has widened the discount on Canadian crude, hurting competitors’ bottom lines, Suncor said it was able to fully make up for the lower prices with expanded margins in its refining business.
“The value of our integrated model was front and center this quarter,” Chief Executive Officer Steve Williams said in a statement.
Fort Hills has a targeted capacity of 194,000 barrels a day, and Hebron is expected to produce as much as 150,000 barrels a day, with 31,000 of those barrels net to Suncor.
Suncor rose 0.8 percent to C$49.25 at 11:29 a.m. in Toronto. The shares rose 5.8 percent this year through Tuesday, compared with a 4.1 percent decline for the S&P/TSX energy index.
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