Suncor announces record third quarter; operations continue in Syria despite troubles

Suncor Energy Inc. (NYSE:SU), Canada's largest energy company, announced third quarter record earnings of $1.287 billion or 82 cents per share.

Operating earnings almost tripled to a record $1.789 billion or $1.14 per common share.

On the news, which was announced on Thursday, the company's shares were up 1.8% to $31.88.

Production from oil sands was a bright spot for the company with an increase from 306,600 to 326,600 barrels a day; however cash costs increased $3.30 a barrel.

"The increase is a reflection of higher total cash operating costs primarily due to maintenance on a hydrogen plant, workovers on in situ wells, and growing mining and in situ operations, partially offset by the impact of higher production volumes during the quarter," said the company in a statement.

In April last year Suncor started production at a $1.2 billion commercial gas plant. The operation has gas wells and an electricity plant for the Syrian local market.

In the previous quarter, Suncor took a $0.5 billion write down on its Libyan assets due to the civil war in the country. Suncor says that the troubles in Syria have not yet affected its business.

Syria has experienced waves of civil unrest, which the government has severely repressed. Countries in the region are starting to

"In response to recent events in Syria, new sanctions were announced during the quarter prohibiting, among other things, the purchase of Syrian oil production and new investment in the Syrian oil industry. Current sanctions do not impact the production and sale of natural gas from the Ebla project, which is not exported, but which helps meet the domestic energy supply. Suncor continues to comply with the terms of all applicable sanctions and recognizes the concerns that exist about ongoing events in Syria. Suncor continues to carefully monitor the unrest and is taking all necessary precautions for the safety of our people. Suncor believes that, by employing local Syrian staff, developing Syrian capability and producing natural gas to generate electricity for domestic consumption, the company can be a positive contributor in Syria, provided the work can be done responsibly. To that end, Suncor is also focused on the social responsibility we have in operating in an area affected by conflict."

Sunor is hopeful it can return to business in Libya.

". . . the transition to a new government in Libya resulted in the lifting of many of the sanctions that were impacting Suncor's operations in the country. The company is cautiously optimistic about a return to operations as it formulates a re-entry plan and co-operates with the joint venture operator, who is working to restart production. At this time, there has been no change in the company's assessment of the impairment of assets in Libya."