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Petro-Canada completes Canada’s Electric Highway

Milton bannerPetro-Canada, a Suncor business, has completed its coast-to-coast network of electric vehicle (EV) fast chargers. With locations from Nova Scotia to British Columbia, EV drivers will now be able to travel across the country with access to a fast charge network.

“With more than 100,000 electric vehicles on the road in Canada and an average of 4,000 EVs added each month, we know that this is an important step in meeting the current and future driving needs of Canadians,” Mark Little, president and chief executive officer, Suncor, said in a release. “We want to be part of the total solution to meet energy demand and reduce the carbon footprint of the transportation system. Canada’s Electric Highway is one of the ways we are able to support the total solution.”

spark-img-3From Victoria, B.C. to Stewiacke, N.S., EV drivers can now charge up at locations along the Trans-Canada highway. With more than 50 sites located in small towns and big cities from the Rockies to the Maritimes, each site features DC fast chargers with both CHAdeMO and CCS/SAE connectors, which support a broad selection of vehicles. The chargers can provide up to a 200 kilowatt charge – enough to provide an 80% charge to most EVs in less than 30 minutes. The units are also capable of 350 kilowatt charging with future upgrades.

In a statement, the company said: “The landscape of fuelling is changing – consumers are looking for choices for low carbon fuel alternatives. Suncor and Petro-Canada will continue to work with governments at all levels to support the transition to a low carbon economy and to provide Canadians with choices for fuel.”

Canada’s Electric Highway is supported in part through $4.6 million in funding from the Government of Canada’s Electric Vehicle and Alternative Fuel Infrastructure Deployment Initiative.

“Zero emission vehicles are critical to our clean energy future and to combatting climate change. Our government is supporting initiatives like Petro-Canada’s coast-to-coast network of EV fast chargers; putting more electric vehicles on our roads, reducing pollution and creating stronger and more sustainable communities,” said Minister of Natural Resources Seamus O’Regan.

 

Petro-Canada operates more than 1,500 retail stations and 300 Petro-Pass wholesale locations nationwide.


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Suncor keeps 2020 oil budget flat, approves $300 million wind farm project

Oilsands giant Suncor Energy Inc. says it will keep capital spending related to its oil operations flat next year while moving forward with a new $300-million wind power project in southern Alberta.

The Calgary-based company says its capital budget for 2020 will rise by about 10% to a mid-point of $5.7 billion from this year’s $5.15 billion.

SunBridge is Suncor's first renewable energy project. Located near Gull Lake, Saskatchewan, the facility generates enough zero-emissions electricity to offset about 33,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year.

SunBridge is Suncor’s first renewable energy project. Located near Gull Lake, Saskatchewan, the facility generates enough zero-emissions electricity to offset about 33,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year.

Suncor announced it has sanctioned the first 200-megawatt phase of its Forty Mile Wind Power Project, which received Alberta regulatory approval last spring. About 25% of the capital cost is expected to be incurred this year and the remainder in 2020 and 2021.

Suncor say the project is a key component of its sustainability strategy as it targets cutting its greenhouse gas intensity by 30% by 2030.

It says the 2020 capital budget increase also includes $300 million for its $1.4-billion project to replace coke-fired boilers at its oilsands base camp in northern Alberta with cleaner natural gas-powered co-generation units for heat for the plant and electricity for the provincial power grid.

It also plans to invest $150 million in digital technology initiatives and $50 million to improve efficiency at the Syncrude oilsands mining complex by connecting it by pipeline with Suncor’s nearby base camp works.

“Looking forward to 2020, we will continue to focus on value over volume, investing in high-return projects that are largely independent of pipeline constraints and commodity price volatility, to deliver on our $2-billion incremental free funds flow target by 2023,” said CEO Mark Little in a statement.

Upstream production is expected to increase by about 5% to about 820,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day.


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Suncor partners with Microsoft for digital transformation

Suncor is embarking on a multi-year strategic alliance with Microsoft Canada as a part of the company’s effort to further accelerate what it calls its “digital transformation journey.”

Suncor has selected Microsoft as its cloud provider and will tap into the company’s full range cloud solutions to empower a connected and collaborative workforce, upgrade data centres, and increase analytics capabilities. Suncor will also collaborate with Microsoft on innovation projects, drawing on expertise and opportunities from both organizations.

“We’re excited to be partnering with Microsoft because they’re a global leader in the digital technology space, and they will bring value and insights into global innovation best practices,” Mark Little, Suncor president and CEO, said in a release. “This is an example of how we are driving to improve our business in ways that were not possible before – to make our people safer, increase reliability and productivity, reduce costs and improve sustainability.”

Suncor will move towards cloud-based computing with Microsoft Azure, which is expected to enable the rapid deployment of new technologies to improve safety and productivity through artificial intelligence, machine learning, enhanced automation, and Industrial IoT (IIoT) and visualization.

“Although we are an industry leader in many respects, we still have much to learn in the digital space, which is why we’re working with a number of organizations including Microsoft to challenge us,” said Little. “Similar to how we partner with and learn from innovators across our physical value chain, we’re choosing to partner with the experts in digital innovation.”

“Suncor is embarking on a journey to transform the energy industry. They are creating new business value for their customers, empowering and upskilling their workforce, and innovating for a sustainable future,” said Kevin Peesker, president, Microsoft Canada. “The world’s leading companies run on our cloud, and we look forward to helping Suncor accelerate their digital transformation with Azure, Dynamics 365, Surface and Microsoft 365.”

Through this alliance, Suncor expects to improve the employee and customer experiences across their business, from front-line workers in industrial settings, to gas station attendants at Petro-Canada, to office workers. The company plans to draw insights from data that will open new ways to drive improved economic, social and environmental performance.


Alberta oil cuts, close the taps bill are unwelcome interventions: Suncor CEO

Incoming Suncor president and CEO Mark Little addresses shareholders. Photo: Jeff McIntosh Canadian Press

Incoming Suncor president and CEO Mark Little addresses shareholders. Photo: Jeff McIntosh 

 

The new CEO of Suncor Energy Inc. says he doesn’t want the Alberta government to carry through on its threat to cut off shipments of oil and refined products to B.C. if its western neighbour continues to interfere with pipeline growth.

Following the company’s annual meeting in Calgary on May 2, Mark Little said any such action resulting from the proclamation of Bill 12 by the new United Conservative government this week would create a barrier between Suncor’s refinery assets in the Edmonton area and its customers in British Columbia.

He said Suncor is using the Trans Mountain pipeline to the West Coast now to bring gasoline and diesel to the B.C. market and it supports pipeline expansion so that it can grow that market.

“We’re hoping that through the government’s negotiations this can get sorted out, because the last thing we want to do is have an impediment in serving our customers,” he said.

He added he views the Alberta bill as “a fairly significant intervention into a market to try to resolve a dispute.”

Earlier in the day, Little told analysts on a conference call that Suncor remains opposed to another Alberta market intervention, its oil production curtailments, in spite of their “slightly positive” impact on first-quarter financial results.

The results show the value of Suncor’s integrated business model and extensive pipeline contracts at a time of turmoil in the industry, he said.

“In the fourth quarter of 2018, there were low benchmark prices with wide heavy and light crude oil differentials. Whereas, in the first quarter of 2019, there were higher benchmark prices and narrow differentials,” Little said.

“Both quarters, we were able to generate significant funds from operations.”

Little officially took over as chief executive from Steve Williams at the annual meeting in downtown Calgary. Williams was given a standing ovation by shareholders after a speech about the company’s accomplishments during his seven years as CEO.

Alberta’s decision to impose quotas on its biggest oil producers was designed to free up pipeline space and draw down crude storage after price discounts on western Canadian oil spiked last autumn.

The move is supported by oilsands producers like Cenovus Energy Inc., whose CEO pointed out last week the resulting higher prices have helped boost royalties to Alberta’s treasury.

But it’s opposed by rivals such as Imperial Oil Ltd. and Husky Energy Inc. who note that crude-by-rail exports plunged to 131,000 barrels per day in February from an all-time high of 354,000 bpd in December _ which means oil export capacity was actually reduced.

Both points are accurate, said Little, but he added the confusion means Suncor and others are reluctant to spend money on new projects.

The UCP government has supported curtailments brought in by the NDP and favours gradually reducing the cuts over the coming year.

Suncor said its quota strategy involved maximizing highly profitable upgraded synthetic crude oil volumes, while throttling back lower-margin mined raw bitumen, a move that has temporarily increased its operating costs per barrel.

The company said average realized bitumen prices jumped to $62.92 per barrel at Fort Hills in the first quarter, up from $30.57 in the fourth quarter of 2018, as oil price discounts eased.

The Calgary-based oilsands producer and refining giant reported net income for the first three months of the year that beat analyst expectations thanks to higher oil prices, record downstream results, growing oilsands production and a $264-million after-tax insurance gain on its assets in Libya.

Net earnings were $1.47 billion or 93 cents per share in the quarter, up from $789 million or 48 cents in the same period of 2018.

Its operating profit came to $1.2 billion, compared with $985 million in the first quarter of 2018.

It had total oilsands production of 657,000 barrels per day in the first quarter, compared with 572,000 bpd a year earlier, thanks to gains at the expanded Fort Hills oilsands mine and higher contributions from the Syncrude mine and upgrader, in which it has a 58.7 per cent stake.

The company says refining and marketing delivered record operating earnings of $1 billion, up from $789 million in the first quarter of 2018.

Suncor said production from its East Coast offshore Hebron project increased to 18,300 bpd (net to Suncor) and is continuing to grow following the completion of a fifth production well in the first quarter.

It said first oil was achieved ahead of schedule in the quarter at the Oda project offshore Norway, in which it has a 30 per cent stake.