Canadian Natural Resources Projects Uptick in Production in 2024

(Reuters) — Canadian Natural Resources said on Thursday it expects production to increase in 2024, as the energy producer bets on demand amid tight supplies.

Canadian oil and gas producers have been disciplined with their output in 2023. However, an industry group, Canadian Association of Energy Contractors, expects companies to drill 8% more wells in 2024 to take advantage of greater access to pipelines.

Canada is the world's fourth-largest oil producer.

Canadian Natural expects total production to be between 1.33 million and 1.38 million barrels of oil equivalent per day (boepd) next year. It estimated 1.33 million to 1.37 million boepd for 2023.

It expects annual production to grow 4% to 5% on an average in 2025, compared with the 2024 targeted average annual production levels.

"As part of our 2024 budget, the drilling program is weighted towards longer-cycle projects in the first half of the year," President Tim McKay said in a statement.

"During the second half of the year, we will focus on shorter-cycle development opportunities to better align with incremental market egress and potentially improved commodity pricing, maximizing value for our shareholders."

Of the total 269 crude and natural gas wells the company plans to drill in 2024, it targets to drill nearly 65% during the second half of that year.

The Calgary, Alberta-based company targets exit production levels at around 1.46 million boepd in 2024, an increase of nearly 40,000 boepd from the 2023 levels.

The company sees thermal and oil sands mining at 724,000 to 743,000 bpd in 2024, compared with the 705,000 to 729,000 bpd forecast in 2023, with four additional pads targeted to be drilled next year.

It expects to spend C$5.42 billion ($4.01 billion) in 2024, largely in line with its 2023 forecast of C$5.41 billion.

($1 = 1.3458 Canadian dollars)

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