Suncor forecasts a record-breaking end to 2018 but remains subdued on 2019

Suncor forecasts a record-breaking end to 2018 but remains subdued on 2019

Suncor Energy gave shareholders a glimpse of its operating metrics for this past fourth quarter, noting several new production records.

A record quarter at Fort Hills and Syncrude

The Fort Hills mine produced a record 183,000 bbl/day in Q4, hitting 94% of nameplate capacity. Syncrude produced 355,000 bbl/day, slightly above its nameplate of 350,000 bbl/day, also a new quarterly record for the facility. Total upstream production hit a record 831,000 boe/day in the fourth quarter, 12% higher than the previous quarter and 13% higher than the same time last year.

Suncor owns a 54.11% stake in Fort Hills and 58.74% interest in the Syncrude Project.

Excluding Fort Hills and Syncrude, Suncor's oil sands operations produced 433,000 bbl/day in Q4, down 43,000 bbl/day from the previous quarter. The company did not give a reason for the sharp decline. Last year’s Q3 results included record output from Suncor’s in-situ facilities.

Dialling down expectations for 2019

Despite the stellar results, the company warns 2019 won't be as rosy due to the Alberta government's imposed production caps.

Output from Fort Hills is expected to average 165,000 bbl/day for the full year, representing about 85% of its nameplate capacity. Full year 2019 output from Syncrude should average about 290,000 bbl/day. Suncor's remaining oil sands facilities are expected to average between 410,000 and 440,000 bbl/day in 2019, in line with 2018 guidance.

The company says it continues to work with the province and the Alberta Energy Regulator to "manage and mitigate the unintended consequences of the curtailment orders."

Official Q4 and full-year 2018 results will be released on February 5, 2019.

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