July 30, 2015 / 12:41 AM / 4 years ago

Suncor second-quarter operating profit falls as lower crude price bites

A petroleum storage tank at the Suncor tar sands operations near Fort McMurray, Alberta, September 17, 2014. REUTERS/Todd Korol

VANCOUVER (Reuters) - Suncor Energy Inc (SU.TO), Canada’s largest oil and gas company, reported a drop in second-quarter operating earnings on Wednesday, as lower crude prices outweighed increased production.

The Calgary-based company, which has already slashed jobs and spending to help cope with the sharp drop in the price of oil, cut its full-year capital spending outlook by C$400 million, though it boosted its dividend by 4 percent to 29 Canadian cents.

Suncor’s operating profit, which excludes one-time items, fell to C$906 million, or 63 Canadian cents per share, from C$1.14 billion, or 77 Canadian cents per share, in the year-ago period.

Net profit was C$729 million, or 50 Canadian cents per share. That compared with a profit of C$211 million, or 14 Canadians cents per share, in the second quarter of 2014, when the company was hit with impairment charges related to its Joslyn project and other assets.

Output from Suncor’s northern Alberta operations rose 12 percent to 423,800 barrels per day, mainly due to less unplanned maintenance activity in the quarter.

Cash costs for Suncor’s oil sands operations fell to C$28.00 per barrel from C$34.10 in the year-prior quarter, due to the positive impact of increased production, as well as lower natural gas prices and cost reduction initiatives.

Overall, Suncor produced a total 559,900 barrels of oil equivalent per day, up 8 percent from 518,400 in the second quarter of 2014.

Cash flow, a key indicator of the company’s ability to pay for new projects and drilling, fell to C$2.16 billion, or C$1.49 per share, down from C$2.4 billion, or C$1.64, a year ago.

Reporting by Julie Gordon; Editing by Leslie Adler

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