October 10, 2013 / 3:30 PM / in 5 years

Canadian Natural shares climb on strong Q3 outlook

CALGARY, Alberta, Oct 10 (Reuters) - Canadian Natural Resources Ltd, the country’s largest independent oil explorer and producer, rose 3 percent on the Toronto Stock Exchange on Thursday after reporting stronger-than-expected cash flow per share in a third quarter update.

Cash flow from operations, a key measure of the company’s ability to fund future projects, was C$2.21 per share, well above the average analyst forecast of C$1.94 according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Canadian Natural climbed to C$32.96, outperforming the Toronto Stock Exchange energy index, which was up 1.29 percent on the day.

The company also provided an update on production volumes for the third quarter, which at 701,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day were marginally below expectations, according to analysts at RBC.

“We expect CNQ to modestly outperform the broader energy group today due to strong pre-released 3Q/13 CFPS numbers, partially offset by lower-than-expected crude oil production, possibly as a result of asset sales,” RBC analyst Greg Pardy wrote in a note.

Third-quarter production at Canadian Natural’s new Horizon oil sands project in northern Alberta was 111,900 barrels per day, and fourth-quarter production is expected to average between 110,000 and 115,000 bpd, the company said.

Construction work on the next phase of Horizon, which will boost to capacity to 250,000 bpd, is 30 percent complete and within cost estimates.

Canadian Natural did not provide an update on its Primrose Lake operations, also in northern Alberta, where steam restrictions were imposed after four bitumen emulsion leaks were discovered in June.

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