Canadian Manufacturing

Suncor mulls ‘stranding’ some of its oil reserves

The company and the Alberta government have discussed leaving some oilsands reserves in the ground if they would greatly increase Suncor's emissions intensity

July 28, 2016  by The Canadian Press

As Alberta's oil sands climb back to 2006 operating levels, manufacturers outside the province have an opportunity to capitalise. PHOTO Suncor Energy Inc.

Suncor’s oilsands project near Fort McMurray, Alta. PHOTO Suncor Energy Inc.

CALGARY—The CEO of Suncor Energy says the company is discussing with the Alberta government the possibility of leaving some of its oil in the ground.

Steve Williams says the energy giant is considering “stranding” some of its oilsands reserves if they are too expensive to produce or if they would add too much to their greenhouse gas emission intensity levels.

Williams says he’s optimistic that the government will endorse the idea, which runs counter to its traditional priority on developing as much oil and gas resources by insisting companies attempt to produce all recoverable barrels from their Crown-owned leases.

Simon Dyer of the Pembina Institute says he supports the idea, adding that it could help reduce energy demand in the industry and bring down emissions.


Dyer says it won’t be necessary to produce all of the crude in Alberta’s oilsands if the world can switch to renewable forms of energy in the future.

Greenpeace campaigner Mike Hudema also welcomed the proposal but says producers will have to leave behind more than just the oil that’s difficult to produce if they are sincere about reducing emissions.

In a sustainability report released earlier this week, Suncor vowed to reduce its overall emissions per barrel of oil and gas production by 30 per cent by 2030.

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