Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

Steve Laut, President of Canadian Natural, arrives at the company's annual general meeting in Calgary, Alberta, in this May 5, 2011, file photo.

TODD KOROL/Reuters

The president of Canadian Natural Resources says his company will increase production to more than one million barrels of oil equivalent a day in the next three years if oil prices strengthen.

Steve Laut said in an interview Thursday that the Calgary-based company would increase annual spending to about $4.5-billion a year from 2017 through 2019 if it sees signs of sustainability in benchmark oil prices above $60(U.S.) a barrel and in natural gas prices above $3 a gigajoule, or roughly the amount of heat supplied by about 1,000 cubic feet of natural gas.

"If we see it is a sustainable $60 ... we would spend about $4.5-billion a year in capital spending, which is well below our cash flow so our balance sheet strengthens very quickly," he said.

Story continues below advertisement

"We would probably spend it in a balanced approach between everywhere in our inventory and each product or each project would have to compete for capital."

Benchmark North American crude, which has recently traded above $50, fell Thursday to under $47, while natural gas was trading at just under $2.60.

Canadian Natural, already Canada's largest producer of natural gas and conventional heavy oil, is expected to wrap up a series of expansions at its Horizon oil sands mine and upgrader by the end of 2017. It says it will spend $3-billion to add 45,000 barrels of oil per day this year and 80,000 bpd next year at Horizon.

Laut said completion of the oil sands expansion will free up capital that the company can then invest throughout its portfolio of promising oil and gas drilling opportunities, mainly in Western Canada, but also offshore West Africa.

Analysts applauded Canadian Natural's new emphasis on growing production following its investor open house in Toronto on Wednesday.

"Post 2017 investment opportunities are likely to be a balance of shorter-cycle and medium-term investment opportunities," analyst Michael Dunn of FirstEnergy Capital said in a report.

"This low-decline, high free cash flow characteristic is fairly unique amongst oil and gas producers."

Story continues below advertisement

Canadian Natural expects to produce more than 800,000 barrels of oil equivalent this year while spending just under $4-billion.

Report an error
Tickers mentioned in this story
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies