By Scott Haggett
CALGARY, Alberta Feb 12 Husky Energy Inc
, Canada's third-largest integrated oil producer, said
on Wednesday it made the first major sale of Canadian crude oil
to India in the fourth quarter, even as its profit in the period
dropped on weak refining results.
The company, controlled by Hong Kong billionaire Li
Ka-shing, sold 1 million barrels of crude oil from its White
Rose field, off the coast of Newfoundland, in the quarter to
state-owned refiner Indian Oil Corp.
The sale is the first substantial shipment of Canadian crude
to the subcontinent, giving the company a new customer for its
offshore production as North American refiners increase their
use of cheaper inland oil. The light oil from the field can now
be used in all the Indian refiner's facilities.
"This was a test sale of a certain quality of crude," Asim
Ghosh, Husky's chief executive, said on a conference call. "We
are now qualified for the state-owned (refining) sector in
Husky said net income in the fourth quarter of 2013 fell to
C$177 million ($160.28 million), or 18 Canadian cents per share,
from C$474 million, or 48 Canadian cents, a year earlier.
Adjusted earnings, which exclude most one-time and unusual
items, fell 15 percent to C$412 million, or 42 Canadian cents
per share, but beat the average analyst estimate of 38 Canadian
cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
The company said the drop came as profit margins fell at its
U.S. refining operations. The gross profit for refining a barrel
of crude oil fell to $6.94 in the quarter, compared with $16.19
in the fourth quarter of 2012.
The company's cash flow, a measure of its ability to pay for
new projects and drilling, declined 19 percent from a year ago
to C$1.14 billion, or C$1.16 per share.
U.S. crude futures averaged $97.46 per barrel in the
quarter, compared with $88.18 a year ago.
Husky shares were up 46 Canadian cents to C$33.42 by midday
on the Toronto Stock Exchange.