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

Most categories of crime held steady from year to year in Cumberland. File photo
Cumberland crime numbers hold steady year to year

A few categories had notable changes but many were similar to 2019

The colourful Taylor’s Checkerspot butterfly has been reintroduced on Hornby Island, BC. Photo courtesy the Taylor’s Checkerspot Butterfly Recovery Project.
Checkerspot Butterfly Recovery Project releases more caterpillars on Hornby Island

Chris Junck Special to Black Press The number of Taylor’s checkerspot butterflies… Continue reading

Paper Excellence took over Catalyst Paper operations in B.C. in 2018. (Paper Excellence photo)
The Baynes Sound Connector leaves Denman Island en route to Buckley Bay. Photo by Erin Haluschak
Baynes Sound Connector undergoing upgrades

The MV Quinitsa is providing service between Buckley Bay and Denman Island

B.C. Centre for Disease Control maps showing new COVID-19 cases by local health area for the week of April 4-10. (BCCDC image)
Parksville-Qualicum passes Nanaimo in new COVID-19 cases

Greater Victoria had more new cases than any other Island area: B.C. Centre for Disease Control

Rainbow trouts thrashing with life as they’re about to be transferred to the largest lake of their lives, even though it’s pretty small. These rainbows have a blue tinge because they matched the blue of their hatchery pen, but soon they’ll take on the green-browns of their new home at Lookout Lake. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
VIDEO: B.C. lake stocked with hatchery trout to delight of a seniors fishing club

The Cherish Trout Scouts made plans to come back fishing soon

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
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

The following is a list of restaurants offering take-out and patio dining. ADOBE STOCK IMAGE
List of Comox Valley restaurants offering take-out, patio dining options

Restaurants in the Comox Valley continue to adapt to government-imposed restrictions in… Continue reading

Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops. (Dave Eagles/Kamloops This Week file photo)
RCMP intercept vehicle fleeing with infant taken from Kamloops hospital

The baby was at the hospital receiving life-saving care

Vancouver Police Const. Deepak Sood is under review by the Independent Investigations Office of B.C. after making comments to a harm reduction advocate Sunday, April 11. (Screen grab)
VIDEO: Vancouver officer convicted of uttering threats under watchdog review again

Const. Deepak Sood was recorded Sunday saying ‘I’ll smack you’ and ‘go back to selling drugs’ to a harm reduction advocate

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry prepares a daily update on the coronavirus pandemic, April 21, 2020. (B.C. Government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate persists, 1,005 new cases Friday

Hospitalization up to 425, six more virus-related deaths

Premier John Horgan receives a dose of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine at the pharmacy in James Bay Thrifty’s Foods in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, April 16, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. Premier John Horgan gets AstraZeneca shot, encourages others

27% of residents in B.C. have now been vaccinated against COVID-19

The Nautical Dog Cafe at Skaha marina is getting its patio ready in hopes Mother Nature will provide where provincial restrictions have taken away indoor dining. (Facebook)
‘A lot of instability’: B.C. restaurants in layoff limbo

As COVID-19 cases stay high, restaurants in British Columbia are closed to indoor dining

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau looks on as Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland responds to a question during a news conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Expectations high as Trudeau Liberals get ready to unveil first pandemic budget

The Liberals will look to thread an economic needle with Monday’s budget

Most Read