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Suncor goes into further defensive crouch – Cuts dividend, further capital spending again


By Kevin Orland

(Bloomberg) Suncor Energy Inc. is going further into a defensive crouch, cutting its capital-spending plans for a second time and shrinking its dividend payout, as the Covid-19 pandemic hammers crude demand.Capital spending this year will be C$3.6 billion to C$4 billion ($2.6 billion to $2.9 billion), down from an already-reduced range of C$3.9 billion to C$4.5 billion announced in late March, the Calgary-based company said Tuesday. The board also cut the company’s quarterly dividend to 21 Canadian cents a share, from 46.5 cents.

Suncor is joining a parade of global oil producers that are hunkering down as record low crude prices cause steep losses. In the first quarter, Suncor was able to shift output to higher priced light crude and its refined-product mix to higher-value distillate. The moves helped the company post a better-than-expected loss, excluding some items, of 20 Canadian cents a share. Analysts estimated a loss of 34 cents, on average.

The virus is affecting Suncor’s maintenance work, too. The company pushed back plans to return its MacKay River operation to service until later in the second quarter. It’s also evaluating other options for its Terra Nova venture off Newfoundland and Labrador’s coast because the project’s production vessel can’t undergo planned work at a dry dock in Spain at the moment.



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