Suncor Energy hikes dividend by 15%, reports record quarterly oil sands production

Suncor (TSE:SU), Canada's largest energy company, is reporting record quarterly production for the last three months of 2013 and a nice quarterly dividend hike for shareholders.

The firm announced on Tuesday that its fourth quarter output averaged 409,600 barrels per day – an increase of 13,200 barrels per day on the preceding quarter.

Net earnings were $443 million – 30 cents per common share – for the fourth quarter of 2013, compared with a net loss of $574 million the year prior.

"For the tenth consecutive quarter we generated over $2.2 billion in cash flow from operations, despite a challenging western Canadian crude price environment," CEO Steve Williams said in a statement. 

Meanwhile, the company's Board of Directors has approved a 15% increase in the company's quarterly dividend to $0.23 per common share, some nine months after it increased the dividend by 54% in 2013, Suncor wrote in its Q4 results.

Directors have also approved an additional $1 billion in share repurchases, increasing the total amount available for repurchase to $1.7 billion.

The year ahead

Suncor has reduced its production guidance for 2014 from between 565,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boe/d) and 610,000 boe/d to between 525,000 boe/d and 570,000 boe/d.

The company excluded Libyan operations from its production guidance due to political unrest.

The company's exploration budget for 2014 is set at $7.8 billion, a slight increase on last year.

Suncor's share price lost nearly 2% to trade at $34.94 per share on Tuesday after the results and updated outlook were announced.