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Canadian Natural Resources signals support for broad Canada oil output cut

FILE PHOTO: An oil pump jack pumps oil in a field near Calgary, Alberta, Canada on July 21, 2014. REUTERS/Todd Korol

(Reuters) - Canadian Natural Resources Ltd CNQ.TO, Canada's biggest oil producer, would support any commitment by the federal government to cut oil production as long as it was applied fairly to the industry, company president Tim McKay said on Wednesday.

“We supported curtailments here in Alberta to help balance the market when you have these issues,” McKay told a virtual investor conference hosted by Bank of Nova Scotia and the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers.

“To me, as long as it’s a broad-based approach, we could support it.”

Canadian Natural is the latest, and biggest, producer to signal support for government to help arrest a plunge in prices that has hammered the industry in Canada’s main oil-producing province of Alberta, home to the world’s third-largest reserves.

Oil sands producer Cenovus Energy Inc CVE.TO on Tuesday said global coordination on reductions may be required to ensure the industry's viability while rival Imperial Oil IMO.TO said it opposed any government intervention.

The world’s top oil producers Saudi Arabia, Russia and the United States still seemed at odds on Wednesday before this week’s meetings on potentially big output cuts to shore up crude prices that have been hammered by the coronavirus crisis.

Canadian Natural last month slashed its full-year capital budget by C$1.09 billion.

Producers in Western Canada could initially cut 900,000 barrels per day of output, rising to 1.5 million barrels as storage congestion intensifies, analysts at Morgan Stanley said on Wednesday.

Reporting by Jeff Lewis; Editing by Bernadette Baum

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