Varcoe: Oilsands production rises as red ink accumulates

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Husky, which announced Thursday a $7-billion net loss for the quarter driven by a non-cash impairment charge of $6.7 billion, also reported rising production.

During the July-to-September period, it produced an average of 258,000 boe per day, an increase of almost five per cent from the second quarter, as it turned up output at its Lloydminster thermal projects and at the Sunrise development.

At Suncor Energy, the integrated petroleum producer announced a $12-million net loss in the quarter. Production fell to 616,200 barrels of oil equivalent (boe) per day, down 19 per cent from a year earlier.

It conducted maintenance work in the third quarter, and a fire in August at its oilsands base plant temporarily affected output.

However, almost all maintenance was completed in the third quarter, including repairs to the base plant, which will allow all of its assets to return to normal operating levels by early next month, the company said.

Suncor and its partner have also begun to restart a second production train at its Fort Hills oilsands mine, which was idled earlier this year.

Suncor Energy Inc.’s processing unit at the Fort Hills facility in Fort McMurray Alta. Photo by Canadian Press/Jason Franson

If oil prices hover around US$35 a barrel, Suncor’s capital spending next year will remain around current levels of $3.8 billion, but it would increase by 10 to 15 per cent if crude moved into the low $40-a-barrel range, said CEO Mark Little.

He expects a 10 per cent bump in Suncor’s production next year.

Suncor was one of several integrated producers to oppose the curtailment program, along with Husky and Imperial Oil, and Little welcomed the province’s latest decision.

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