Canadian Natural hikes dividend after profit beat on higher crude prices

Pipelines at Canadian Natural Resources Limited's (CNRL) Primrose Lake oil sands project are seen near Cold Lake, Alberta August 8, 2013. REUTERS/Dan Riedlhuber/File Photo

Nov 3 (Reuters) - Canadian Natural Resources Ltd (CNQ.TO) raised its dividend by 13% on Thursday after beating analysts' estimates for quarterly profit on the back of higher crude prices.

Energy supplies have remained tight due to disruption from the Ukraine war, pushing crude prices to multi-year highs. This has helped oil and gas companies including rivals Imperial Oil Ltd (IMO.TO) and Cenovus Energy Inc (CVE.TO) post higher profits.

Canadian Natural said its liquids realized price rose nearly 25% to C$84.91 per barrel.

The Calgary, Alberta-based company raised its quarterly dividend to 85 Canadian cents, as energy companies focus on returning the excess profit to shareholders.

With this, the company has raised its quarterly dividend twice so far this year for a total combined increase of 45% to C$3.40 per share annually.

Canadian Natural said its 2022 capital budget program remains unchanged at about C$4.9 billion ($3.56 billion).

Production rose to 1.34 million barrels of oil equivalent per day (boepd) in the September quarter from 1.24 million boepd a year earlier.

Net earnings rose to C$2.81 billion, or C$2.49 per share, in the three months ended Sept. 30, from C$2.20 billion, or C$1.86 per share, a year ago.

On an adjusted basis, the company earned C$3.09 a share, beating the average analysts' estimate of C$2.85 per share, according to Refinitiv data.

($1 = 1.3769 Canadian dollars)

Reporting by Sourasis Bose in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu

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