UPDATE 2-Canadian Natural to boost capital spending despite low oil price

Thu Nov 6, 2014 1:00pm EST
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(New throughout, adds details and comments; updates share price)

CALGARY, Alberta Nov 6 (Reuters) - Canadian Natural Resources Ltd, Canada's largest independent oil producer, said on Tuesday it plans to boost capital spending 11 percent next year, raising its output by nearly 90,000 barrels per day despite weak oil prices.

The company, which posted a decline in third-quarter profit but beat expectations, said it will spend C$8.6 billion next year to raise production 9 percent to about 893,000 bpd.

Oil prices touched three-week lows this week after Saudi Arabia cut prices for crude exports to the United States.

But if prices weaken further, Canadian Natural said it can quickly cut its budget if needed.

"We can quickly curtail over C$2 billion in capital spending if we choose," Steve Laut, the company's president, said on a conference call. "In a volatile commodity price environment, capital flexibility is important."

Canadian Natural also said it will keep pushing forward on an expansion of its Horizon oil sands project as it eyes boosting output at the northern Alberta site to 250,000 bpd in 2017 from about 122,000 bpd currently. It expects to spend C$2.45 billion next year and forecast production of synthetic crude at 127,000 bpd for 2105.

NET PROFIT DOWN 11 PCT   Continued...