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Canadian Natural Announces 2022 First Quarter Results

The company stated in its report::

“Our unique, diverse, long life low decline asset base with large, low risk, high value reserves is a differentiating factor that makes Canadian Natural a truly unique energy company. We have an industry leading WTI break-even in the midUS$30s per barrel, which covers base maintenance capital requirements and dividend commitments and when combined with our top tier cost structure and effective and efficient operations we are resilient through the commodity price cycle while generating substantial returns in today’s environment.

Canadian Natural is a leader on Environmental, Social and Governance (“ESG”) and has made it a priority to work together in collaboration with industry peers, including the Pathways initiative. By working together, we have developed an actionable plan that can help us collectively be more effective and efficient from a time and cost perspective for Carbon Capture, Utilization and Storage (“CCUS”) projects. We are taking positive steps forward in our efforts to help Canada achieve its climate and economic growth objectives.”

Commenting on the Company’s first quarter 2022 results, Tim McKay, President of Canadian Natural, stated, 
“Our world class asset base is one of our key strengths, which is strategically balanced across commodity types so we can capture opportunities throughout the commodity price cycle. This drove total corporate quarterly production of approximately 1,280 MBOE/d in Q1/22, including record natural gas production of over 2.0 Bcf/d, an increase of 0.4 Bcf/d from Q1/21 levels. Financially we delivered strong quarterly free cash flow of approximately $3.4 billion, after dividends of approximately $0.7 billion and net capital expenditures of approximately $0.8 billion, excluding acquisitions and strategic growth capital.

Canadian Natural’s Chief Financial Officer, Mark Stainthorpe, added, 
“At Canadian Natural our culture of continuous improvement has created a sense of ownership and enables our teams to create significant value for our shareholders. Our effective and nimble capital allocation to our four pillars; returns to shareholders, balance sheet strength, resource value growth and opportunistic acquisitions continues to deliver robust financial results. In Q1/22 net earnings and adjusted funds flow were strong at approximately $3.1 billion and approximately $5.0 billion respectively, and our balance sheet continued to strengthen. So far in 2022 up to and including May 4, 2022, returns to shareholders have been significant as we have returned a total of approximately $3.1 billion through dividends and share repurchases. This includes the increase to our sustainable and growing quarterly dividend in March 2022 by 28% to $0.75 per share, up from $0.5875 per share, marking 2022 as the 22nd consecutive year of dividend increases. The increasing dividend demonstrates the confidence that the Board of Directors has in the Company’s world class assets and its ability to generate significant and sustainable free cash flow through the commodity price cycle.

In addition, the Company’s Board of Directors has decided to further enhance the Company’s free cash flow allocation policy by stating that when the Company’s net debt reaches $8 billion, which the Board sees as a base level of corporate debt, the Company will allocate additional free cash flow as incremental returns to shareholders.

When you combine our leading financial results with our top tier asset base, this provides unique competitive advantages in terms of capital efficiencies, flexibility and sustainability, all of which drive material free cash flow generation and return of capital.”

Selected Highlights

  • Canadian Natural delivered net earnings of approximately $3.1 billion and adjusted net earnings from operations of approximately $3.4 billion in Q1/22.
  • Cash flows from operating activities were approximately $2.9 billion in Q1/22.
  • Canadian Natural generated strong quarterly adjusted funds flow of approximately $5.0 billion in Q1/22, an increase of approximately $2.3 billion from Q1/21 levels.
  • Year-to-date up to and including May 4, 2022, the Company has returned approximately $3.1 billion to shareholders through approximately $1.6 billion in dividends and $1.5 billion from the repurchase and cancellation of 21.5 million common shares.

In Q1/22, the Company continued its focus on safe, effective and efficient operations, driving average quarterly production volumes of 1,280,180 BOE/d, an increase of 3% over Q1/21 levels.

  • The Company delivered record average natural gas production of 2,006 MMcf/d in Q1/22, a significant increase of more than 400 MMcf/d or 26% over Q1/21 levels. The increase over Q1/21 primarily reflects strong drilling results and production volumes from acquisitions, partially offset by natural field declines.
  • Quarterly liquids production averaged 945,809 bbl/d in Q1/22, a decrease of 3% from Q1/21 levels, primarily due to facility restrictions at the non-operated Scotford Upgrader (“Scotford”) and the commencement of the planned turnaround, partially offset by strong light crude oil and NGL volumes.
  • Canadian Natural’s North America E&P liquids production, including thermal in situ, averaged 484,280 bbl/‌d during Q1/22, comparable to Q1/21 levels.
  • North America E&P liquids production, excluding thermal in situ, averaged 222,537 bbl/d in Q1/22, an increase of 5% over Q1/21 levels. The increase over Q1/21 levels primarily reflects strong drilling results and production volumes from acquisitions, partially offset by natural field declines.

In Q1/22 the Company completed a number of strategic acquisitions in our core areas which will add long term value to our shareholders, two of which are highlighted below. These strategic premium assets enhance the Company’s long term growth opportunities, while not impacting share repurchases as per the Company’s free cash flow policy.

  • In the Jackfish and Kirby areas the Company acquired the remaining 50% working interest in the Pike lands. As a result the Company will be able to cost effectively develop these lands through both the Jackfish and Kirby facilities, that will lower costs to develop and improve timelines to first oil.
  • In the Wembley Area, premium liquids rich Montney lands were acquired, which are essentially surrounded by the Company’s development plans. The value in these lands will be further enhanced by leveraging the Company’s plans in the area. The Company is targeting 8 wells this year on these lands, which is incorporated in the Company’s 2022 capital budget.

Capex

The Company’s 2022 capital budget remains on track with targeted base capital of approximately $3.6 billion that delivers targeted production of approximately 1,270,000 BOE/d to 1,320,000 BOE/d, resulting in disciplined year over year near-term growth of approximately 60,000 BOE/d derived primarily from conventional E&P operations

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