Canadian Natural Resources Limited (CNQ - Free Report) recorded first-quarter adjusted earnings per share of 53 cents, beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 39 cents. The outperformance can be primarily attributed to higher commodity price realizations. However, the bottom line was lower than the prior-year earnings of 56 cents a share.
Total revenues came in at $3,947 million, surpassing the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $3,726 million. However, the top line recorded a decline from first-quarter 2018 revenues of $4,538 million.
Production & Prices
Canadian Natural reported quarterly production of 1,035,212 barrels of oil equivalent per day (BOE/d), down from 1,123,546 BOE/d in the prior-year quarter. Oil and natural gas liquids (NGLs) output (accounting for more than 76.1% of total volumes) decreased to 783,512 barrels per day (Bbl/d) from 854,558 Bbl/d recorded a year ago. Crude oil and NGLs production from operations in North America came in at 735,643 Bbl/d, lower than the year-ago quarter’s 813,536 Bbl/d due to production cuts mandated by the government of Alberta.
Natural gas volumes recorded a year-over-year decline from 1,614 million cubic feet per day (MMcf/d) to 1,510 MMcf/d in the quarter under review. Production in North America came in at 1,454MMcf/d, lower than the year-ago period’s 1,547MMcf/d.
Canadian Natural’s realized natural gas price was C$3.09 per thousand cubic feet compared with the year-ago level of C$2.74. Realized oil and NGLs increased 25.5% to C$53.98 per barrel from C$43.06 in the first quarter of 2018, thanks to narrowing crude oil differentials.
Expenses & Capex
Total expenses incurred in the quarter totaled C$4,028 million, which is lower than C$4,600 million recorded a year ago. Lower production and transportation expenses, coupled with foreign exchange gains reduced overall costs.In the reported quarter, capital expenditure totaled C$977 million.
Dividend& Share Repurchase
Canadian Natural increased first-quarter dividend payout by 12% sequentially, marking the 19th consecutive annual payout hike. The company, which is committed to adding value to its shareholders, returned C$403 million and C$241 million via dividends and stock buybacks, respectively.
Canadian Natural declared dividend of 37.5 Canadian cents a share, which is payable on Jul 1 to its shareholders of record as of Jun 14.
As of Mar 31, the company had C$90 million in cash and cash equivalents, and a long-term debt of C$19,323 million, representing a debt-to-capitalization ratio of approximately 37.4%.
Canadian Natural reiterated capex and output forecast for 2019. The company expects capital expenditure to be around C$3.7 billion in 2019. It expects liquids output in the band of 782,000-861,000 Bbl/d, while natural gas output is forecasted within 1,485-1,545 MMcf/d. Crude oil and NGL production from North American operations is projected within 221,000-241,000 Bbl/d. Its thermal in situ oil sands production is estimated within 104,000-124,000 Bbl/d.
Second-quarter 2019 liquids production is anticipated within 773,000-831,000 Bbl/d and natural gas output is projected in the band of 1,500-1,530 MMcf/d.
Zacks Rank and Key Picks
Canadian Natural currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.
Meanwhile, investors interested in the energy space can consider some better-ranked players such as:
Devon Energy Corporation (DVN - Free Report) : Devon’s 2019 earnings are expected to grow 68.2% on a year-over-year basis.
Repsol SA (REPYY - Free Report) : Repsol delivered average positive earnings surprise of 8.98% in the trailing four quarters.
Bonanza Creek Energy, Inc. (BCEI - Free Report) : The company delivered average positive earnings surprise of 3.99% in the trailing four quarters. Bonanza Creek’s 2019 revenues are expected to grow 23.1% y/y.
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