Cenovus Q3 operating earnings below estimates; refinery arm hit by low prices

CALGARY – Cenovus Energy Inc. (TSX:CVE) reports its operating earnings were $313 million, or 41 cents per share, in the third quarter.

That’s down from $432 million or 57 cents per share a year earlier and seven cents below an estimate of 48 cents per share.

The Calgary-based company says its refining operations suffered from lower prices, which partially offset strong performance in its oil operations.

Operating cash flow from oil production was $915 million, 40 per cent higher than in the same period a year earlier, thanks to a combination of higher output and higher realized prices.

But operating cash flow from refinery operations was down 75 per cent from a year earlier, falling to $133 million.

“Stronger realized crude prices and higher oil production led to a solid increase in operating cash flow from our oil assets in the third quarter,” said Cenovus president and CEO Brian Ferguson

“That helped offset most of the impact from a significant drop in market crack spreads and higher feedstock costs which led to a large year-over-year decrease in operating cash flow from our refining assets.”

In addition to the operating earnings, Cenovus reported $370 million of net earnings, or 49 cents per share, up from $289 million or 38 cents per share a year earlier, due to unrealized gains from hedging.