Suncor 4Q Profit Surges Above Street Views

Canada’s Suncor Energy (NYSE:SU) revealed Wednesday a much stronger-than-expected gain in fourth-quarter profit, help by continued strength in its oil sands business and improvements in its offshore and international assets.

The Calgary-based company posted net earnings of $1.35 billion, or 87 cents a share, compared with $457 million, or 29 cents a share, in the same quarter last year, ahead of average analyst estimates polled by Thomson Reuters of 50 cents.

“Operational results were strong across the business in the fourth quarter,” said Sucor CEO Rick George. "In our oil sands business, steady and reliable production from both mining and in situ assets drove record quarterly production volumes, while our international and offshore assets continued to perform well.”

Gains were attributed by the energy company to improved margins and increase refined product sales in Suncor’s refining and marketing segment. Higher realized prices in the company’s oil sands and international and offshore segments also contributed, as did increased oil sands production. In downstream operations, both production volumes and margins were strong, according to George.

Due to certain strategic divestments during 2010, total production in the fourth-quarter decreased to 626,600 barrels of oil equivalent a day from 638,000 barrels in the year-earlier period.