Suncor Energy posts quarterly loss as oil prices slump on lower demand

FILE PHOTO: Suncor Energy facility is seen in Sherwood Park, Alberta, Canada August 21, 2019. REUTERS/Candace Elliott

(Reuters) - Canadian oil and gas producer Suncor Energy Inc SU.TO posted a quarterly loss on Wednesday, hammered by a steep decline in oil prices as pandemic-led travel restrictions crushed fuel demand.

Canada’s second-biggest oil company also said it would accelerate previously announced workforce reductions of up to 15% over the next 18 months, as it looks to reign in spending.

The pandemic-driven crash in global crude prices has heavily impacted North American oil and gas companies, forcing them to undertake extensive measures, including costs and production cuts, dividend suspensions and some projects deferral, to stay afloat.

Suncor said it produced 616,200 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boepd) in the quarter, down from 762,300 boepd in the year-ago quarter. Refinery utilization averaged 87% compared to 100% a year earlier.

The Calgary, Alberta-based company posted a net loss of C$12 million ($9.10 million) , or 1 Canadian cents per share, in the third quarter ended Sept. 30, compared with a profit of C$1.04 billion, or 67 Canadian cents per share, a year earlier.

Reporting by Arundhati Sarkar and Shradha Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Vinay Dwivedi