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Suncor's Q4'18 production rises with 'solid' results from oil sands operations

Suncor Energy Inc.'s fourth-quarter of 2018 upstream production grew 12% over the previous quarter, as production at the Fort Hills oil sands project exceeded the company's guidance of 90% utilization for the period.

The Calgary, Alberta-based oil and gas producer posted total upstream production of 831,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day, with the Syncrude Canada Ltd. oil sands venture posting record quarterly production, according to a Jan. 7 news release.

Suncor's oil sands operations produced about 433,000 bbl/d in the quarter, and production at its exploration and production operations amounted to 90,000 boe/d. At Fort Hills, production totaled 183,000 barrels per day in the fourth quarter, about 100,000 bbl/d net to Suncor, representing 94% of nameplate capacity. Production at Syncrude was 355,000 bbl/d for the quarter, 209,000 bbl/d net to Suncor, representing 101% of nameplate capacity.

The demand for refined products continued to be strong during the period as Suncor posted average refinery utilization of 101% for quarterly crude throughput of 468,000 bbl/d.

The update comes on the heels of production cuts of about 8.7% imposed by the government of Alberta. The cuts, designed to ease pressure on Canada's swamped export pipeline network and reduce brimming storage, were expected to total about 325,000 bbl/d.

Fort Hills is a joint venture of Suncor, Teck Resources Ltd. and Total SA. Syncrude is jointly owned by Suncor, Imperial Oil Resources Ltd., Nexen Inc.'s Nexen Oil Sands Partnership, and China Petroleum & Chemical Corp.'s Sinopec Oil Sands Partnership.