CALGARY — The new interim CEO of Suncor Energy Inc. says the oil and gas giant is ready to stop studying its workplace safety problem and start implementing solutions instead.
Kris Smith, who took the helm of the Canadian oil and gas producer in the wake of the departure of former CEO Mark Little — who stepped down last month one day after the death of a worker at Suncor’s Base Mine near Fort McMurray, Alta. — made the comments Friday during what was his first quarterly conference call with analysts since assuming his new role.
“We completed an independent safety assessment last year, and we’re clear on what we need to do to improve our safety performance,” Smith said. “We do not need more diagnosis, but what we do need to do is execute.”
At least 12 workplace deaths have occurred at Suncor sites since 2014, more than all the company’s oilsands peers combined.
Earlier this spring, Suncor’s safety performance — as well as a spate of recent operational and production problems — caught the attention of U.S.-based activist investor Elliot Investment Management, which publicly laid out its case for change at the Calgary-headquartered company.
Last month, Suncor announced it had reached a deal with Elliot that includes the appointment of three new independent directors to Suncor’s board, as well as a review of Suncor’s retail chain of Petro-Canada gas stations — a review that could culminate in the sale of that business.
Smith said Suncor is implementing new technology at its oilsands sites, such as collision awareness and driver safety systems, that should help to improve workplace safety.
But he said while technology is an important tool, addressing the company’s safety culture on the front lines will be even more important.
“If I go back to the incidents that we have had, it’s been how the work has been executed in the field,” Smith said. “While technology will be a huge enabler … it’s really about enabling and engaging to ensure that work is happening safely each and every day in the field.
“And so that’s really, I think, the area in my view, that needs focus and attention.”
Suncor Inc. reported late Thursday that it earned $3.99 billion in the second quarter of 2022, or $2.84 per common share, more than four and a half times the $868 million it earned in the same period of 2021.
The Calgary-based oil producer and refiner said its adjusted funds from operations hit $5.35 billion in the quarter, the highest in the company’s history by 33 per cent, as the war in Ukraine drove crude oil prices sky-high.
Production from the company’s oilsands assets increased to 641,500 barrels per day in the second quarter, up from to 615,700 bpd in the prior-year quarter, due to increased production at its Syncrude and Fort Hills sites.
Refinery crude throughput increased to 389,300 barrels per day and refinery utilization was 84 per cent in the second quarter of 2022, compared to 325,300 barrels per day and 70 per cent in the prior-year quarter.
The company also said Thursday it has reached an agreement for the sale of its Norway assets, pending regulatory approval, for gross proceeds of approximately $410 million. The sale is expected to be completed in the fourth quarter of 2022.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 5, 2022.
Companies in this story: (TSX:SU)
Amanda Stephenson, The Canadian Press
News from © The Canadian Press, 2022. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
- 0045 WBPC 2023 Bright Colors P0045 WBPC 2023 Bright Colors P
- 0044 PTRC CCUS Aquistore0044 PTRC CCUS Aquistore
- 0043 ALX ten sizes0043 ALX ten sizes
- 0042 Sask Oilfield Services0042 Sask Oilfield Services
- 0039 Summit ESP Saskatchewan lower third0039 Summit ESP Saskatchewan lower third
- 0041 DEEP Since 2018 now we are going to build0041 DEEP Since 2018 now we are going to build
- 0040 Southeast College safety tickets0040 Southeast College safety tickets
- 0033 Buffalo Potash Jared Small Footprint
- 0032 IWS Summer hiring rock trailer music
- 0029 Latus Viro updated Latus phone
- 0025 Kendalls
- 0026 Buffalo Potash Quinton Salt
- 0023 LC Trucking tractor picker hiring mix
- 0022 Grimes winter hiring
- 0021 OSY Rentals S8 Promo
- 0019 Jerry Mainil Ltd hiring dugout
- 0018 IWS Hiring Royal Summer
- 0014 Buffalo Potash What if PO
- 0013 Panther Drilling PO ad 03 top drive rigs
- 0006 JK Junior
- 0004 Royal Helium PO Ad 02