Suncor Energy's quarterly loss widens on impairment charge

FILE PHOTO - Suncor Energy facility is seen in Sherwood Park, Alberta, Canada August 21, 2019. REUTERS/Candace Elliott

(Reuters) - Suncor Energy Inc SU.TO, Canada's second-largest oil and gas producer, posted a wider quarterly loss on Wednesday, dented by a significant one-time impairment charge.

Excluding one-off items, the company earned 51 Canadian cents per share, missing average analyst estimates of 63 Canadian cents, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

The Calgary, Alberta-based company posted a loss of C$2.3 billion ($1.73 billion), or C$1.52 per share, in the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, compared with a loss of C$280 million, or C$0.18 per share, a year earlier.

The company recorded an after-tax impairment charge of C$2.8 billion on its share of the Fort Hills assets in the Oil Sands segment, due to a decline in forecasted long-term heavy crude oil prices.

The board has approved a renewal of share repurchase program of up to C$2 billion starting March 1, Suncor said, adding it has also given its nod for a quarterly dividend of $0.465 per share, representing a rise of 11% compared with the previous quarter.

Total upstream production in the quarter stood at 778,200 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boepd), down from 831,000 boepd in the year-ago period, the company said, and maintained its annual production outlook of between 800,000 and 840,000 boepd.

Suncor’s production fell as a result of mandatory curtailments imposed by the Alberta provincial government since last January, intended to ease congestion on export pipelines.

Reporting by Arunima Kumar and Rebekah Mathew in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu and Sherry Jacob-Phillips