Canadian Natural Resources (CNRL) CNQ-N and Cenovus Energy CVE-T, two of Canada’s biggest oil producers, said on Tuesday they will set new goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but not pivot away from their core businesses.
Oil sands producers, who extract some of the world’s most carbon-intense crude, face investor pressure to reduce their environmental impact. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau plans to raise Canada’s carbon price steeply over time to position the country for carbon-neutral status by 2050.
CNRL’s corporate emissions-cutting goal will be announced in the second quarter, President Tim McKay said at the Scotiabank CAPP Energy Symposium.
The company cut carbon intensity per barrel by 18 per cent between 2016 and 2020 and sees carbon capture as a way to further reduce its environmental toll, McKay said.
It does not plan major investments in renewable energy as European oil majors have done.
“The preference is to stick with what we know and what we’re good at,” McKay said. “There’s going to be a need for oil long-term.”
Cenovus is also planning new emissions-cutting targets and might invest in renewable power partnerships.
“Where we’re likely to remain is focused on oil and gas production,” said Cenovus Chief Executive Officer Alex Pourbaix at the symposium.
“But don’t look for us to become a late-entrant renewable-power developer.”
Imperial Oil could adopt technologies of parent company Exxon Mobil Corp like carbon capture and biofuel blending, said Senior Vice-President of Finance Dan Lyons.
“When it comes to wind farms and solar farms, that’s not really in our wheelhouse.”
Sticking to fossil fuels will jeopardize the businesses long-term, said Keith Stewart, senior energy strategist at Greenpeace Canada.
“They will go the way of Blockbuster Video once Netflix arrived,” Stewart said.
Canada’s transition to a low-carbon economy could displace up to 450,000 oil and gas workers over the next three decades, TD Economics said.
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