Suncor Energy posts bigger-than-expected loss on oil market rout

FILE PHOTO: The Suncor Energy logo is seen at their head office in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, April 17, 2019. REUTERS/Chris Wattie

(Reuters) - Canadian oil and gas producer Suncor Energy Inc SU.TO posted a bigger-than-expected quarterly loss on Wednesday, as oil prices tumbled on the back of a rapid decline in global demand caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Total production plunged to 655,500 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boepd) during the quarter, from 803,900 boepd a year earlier as the company cut output to keep pace with reduced demand.

Crude prices crashed in April as the coronavirus outbreak hit demand during a Russia-Saudi price war, leading to a global oil glut and prompting North American producers to curb output.

“We experienced unprecedented volatility this quarter in all facets of our business as the COVID-19 pandemic and OPEC+ supply issues continued to impact the industry,” Chief Executive Officer Mark Little said in a statement.

Suncor reported an operating loss of 98 Canadian cents per share. Analysts on average had projected a loss of 60 Canadian cents per share, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

The company realized C$397 million ($296 million) in hydrocarbon inventory losses in the quarter that were recognized in the preceding quarter.

Reporting by Arundhati and Shradha Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel