Suncor Energy (NYSE:SU) is officially out of stealth mode.

The oil sands giant really strutted its stuff this quarter, averaging a touch over 300,000 barrels per day of oil sands production. A year ago, the firm averaged under 175,000 barrels a day. Without the scheduled and unscheduled maintenance outages clouding the picture, Suncor's stature as an oil sands sultan is much clearer for all to see.

Of course, this second-quarter earnings report wasn't the most marvelous thing to behold, on account of uncooperative oil prices. Suncor consumed several hundred million dollars worth of cash in operations, while net income swung to a loss. Elsewhere in the oil patch, Occidental Petroleum (NYSE:OXY) and EnCana (NYSE:ECA) have reported sharply reduced earnings as well, though they both reported profits.

In addition to lower oil prices, operating expenses also rose, in absolute terms, to support Suncor's significantly higher level of production. Unit cash costs, however, came in 39% lower than last year, at an attractive $28.80 per barrel.

This report is also notable for being the last time that Suncor will report prior to its merger with Petro-Canada (NYSE:PCZ). The combination, which I gave my blessing back in March, has now been approved by all concerned parties, including Canada's Competition Bureau regulators. Hence, the merger's expected to go into effect on the first of August.

This new beast will be trickier for all of us to analyze, but I still feel that the more diversified production base, transforming Suncor into something resembling a bigger version of Canadian Natural Resources (NYSE:CNQ), is well worth putting into effect.

Fool contributor Toby Shute doesn't have a position in any company mentioned. Check out his CAPS profile or follow his articles using Twitter or RSS. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.