Cenovus Energy Inc. reported a profit in its first quarter. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Cenovus says Alberta production curtailments are working, reports Q1 profit

CALGARY — Cenovus Energy Inc. reported a profit of $110 million in its first quarter compared with a loss a year ago as it benefited from improved prices for western Canadian oil.

The company says the improvement in prices for western Canadian oil due to the Alberta government’s curtailment program more than offset the impact of reduced production and increased operating costs during the first quarter.

Cenovus says its profit amounted to nine cents per share for the three months ended March 31, compared with a loss of $654 million or 53 cents per share a year ago.

Gross sales totalled nearly $5.2 billion, up from $4.7 billion in the same quarter last year.

Cenovus reported first-quarter oil sands production of 342,980 barrels per day, down five per cent compared with a year ago, while operating costs rose to $9.06 per barrel compared with $8.78 a year ago.

Production from the company’s Deep Basin assets averaged 104,290 barrels of oil equivalent per day, down 18 per cent from a year ago due to the sale of its Pipestone business, lower capital investment, natural declines and weather-related outages.

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