Suncor Energy Inc.’s logo is shown at the company’s annual meeting in Calgary on April 27, 2017.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

Suncor Energy Inc.’s logo is shown at the company’s annual meeting in Calgary on April 27, 2017.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

Suncor says end of Alberta oil quotas a ‘positive signal’ as it reports $302M loss

Suncor has been opposed to the Alberta oil quotas since they started in 2019

The CEO of Suncor Energy Inc. says the Alberta government’s decision to end its oil production curtailment program in December after almost two years is “a very positive signal” for the oilsands and refining giant.

On a conference call, Mark Little says the end of the quota system imposed to support oil prices will allow Suncor to operate “unencumbered” as it recovers from nine months marked by low oil prices, the COVID-19 pandemic disruptions and a fire in August that hurt production at its base oilsands mining operations.

In the wake of a proposed merger of oilsands rivals Husky Energy Inc. and Cenovus Energy Inc., Little says Suncor is more concerned with improving operational performance and strengthening its balance sheet than taking on debt to grow by acquisition.

Suncor reported a third-quarter operating loss of $302 million as revenue fell 34 per cent to $6.5 billion compared with the same period of 2019, when it earned $1.114 billion on revenue of $9.9 billion.

It said oil and gas production fell to 616,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day in the third quarter from 762,000 boepd in the year-earlier period, while refinery output fell to 399,700 barrels per day or 87 per cent utilization from 463,700 bpd or 100 per cent.

The company, which announced in early October it will cut as many as 1,930 jobs over 18 months to reduce total staff by 10 to 15 per cent, said it is on track to achieve its $1-billion operating cost reduction target by the end of 2020.

Suncor has been opposed to the Alberta oil quotas since they started in 2019.

“The indication is that the government does not plan to resume production limits and this is a very positive signal for us and we’re really looking forward to this being a fully unencumbered market,” said Little on the call.

“We will be agile and disciplined as we consider the impact of these changes on our production plans for Fort Hills.”

Production at the 194,000-barrel-per-day Fort Hills oilsands mine was throttled back because of the quotas. Early this year, Suncor shut down one of its two production trains because of low oil prices.

The train was restarted in September and Little said it is on track to achieve overall production of between 120,000 and 130,000 bpd in the current quarter, with growth beyond that to be ramped up gradually to ensure cost savings are retained.

Suncor announced this week it plans to move its Petro-Canada refining and retail branch head office to Calgary from southern Ontario next year. On the call, Little said some of the 700 associated jobs will be lost as part of its overall workforce reductions.

The Canadian Press

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

(Village of Sayward)
Sayward elects new mayor and two council members

New mayor-elect Mark Baker and council members will be sworn in on Dec. 1.

The Strathcona Regional District received Safe Restart funding from the provincial government. File photo
SRD receives provincial safe restart funding

Allocation of funds to be determined by staff

Jessi Vanderveen (left), healthyway Assistant supplements manager, and Tara Jordan, CR KidStart Coordinator,  announce that Healthyway Natural Foods will match in-store donations to John Howard KidStart on Giving Tuesday, Dec. 1, up to $1,000. Photo contributed
Help John Howard KidStart on Giving Tuesday

John Howard KidStart needs your help this Giving Tuesday, Dec. 1. Two… Continue reading

Pathway To Freedom, a non-profit society based in Surrey, wants to open two men’s addiction recovery houses in Campbell River as early as next April. Metro Creative photo
Two new addictions recovery houses could be on their way to Campbell River

‘I just want to help. That’s my hometown. And enough is enough.’

Ian Baikie shows the new booths at the Harbourside Inn restaurant space, which is being converted to a community kitchen for Campbell River’s population of vulnerable people. Photo by Marc Kitteringham, Campbell River Mirror
PHOTOS: New community kitchen coming to Campbell River

Kitchen will provide a safe, warm place for vulnerable population to eat in downtown core

Kyle Charles poses for a photo in Edmonton on Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. Marvel Entertainment, the biggest comic book publisher in the world, hired the 34-year-old First Nations illustrator as one of the artists involved in Marvel Voice: Indigenous Voices #1 in August. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
VIDEO: Indigenous illustrator of new Marvel comic hopes Aboriginal women feel inspired

Kyle Charles says Indigenous women around the world have reached out

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

B.C. Liberal MLA Shirley Bond questions NDP government ministers in the B.C. legislature, Feb. 19, 2020. (Hansard TV)
Cabinet veteran Shirley Bond chosen interim leader of B.C. Liberals

28-member opposition prepares for December legislature session

Motorists wait to enter a Fraser Health COVID-19 testing facility, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, November 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
COVID-19: What do rising positivity rates mean for B.C.? It’s not entirely clear

Coronavirus cases are on the rise but the province has not unveiled clear thresholds for further measures

A rider carves a path on Yanks Peak Saturday, Nov. 21. Two men from Prince George went missing on the mountain the next day. One of them, Colin Jalbert, made it back after digging out his sled from four feet under the snow. The other, Mike Harbak, is still missing. Local search and rescue teams went out looking Monday, Nov. 23. (Sam Fait Photo)
‘I could still be the one out there’: Snowmobiler rescued, 1 missing on northern B.C. mountain

As Quesnel search and rescue teams search for the remaining rider, Colin Jalbert is resting at home

More than 70 anglers participated in the bar-fishing demonstration fishery on Sept. 9, 2020 on the Fraser River near Chilliwack. DFO officers ticketed six people and seized four rods. A court date is set for Dec. 1, 2020. (Jennifer Feinberg/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Anglers ticketed in Fraser River demonstration fishery heading to court

Sportfishing groups started a GoFundMe with almost $20K so far for legal defence of six anglers

Care home staff are diligent about wearing personal protective equipment when they are in contact with residents, but less so when they interact with other staff members, B.C. Seniors Advocate says. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
More COVID-19 testing needed for senior home staff, B.C.’s advocate says

Employees mingling spotted as virus conductor in many workplaces

Most Read