Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Cancel Anytime
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

The Suncor head office stands in Calgary on April 17, 2019.

CHRIS WATTIE/Reuters

The chief executive of Suncor Energy Inc. says it will not increase capital spending this year despite higher oil prices, instead vowing to spend any increases in free cash flow on debt repayment and share buybacks.

The Calgary-based oil sands and refining giant won’t backtrack after chopping operating costs by $1.3-billion, or 12 per cent in 2020 versus 2019, and reducing capital spending by $1.9-billion or 33 per cent compared with the original guidance midpoint, Mark Little said on a conference call on Thursday.

The austerity pledge echoes similar recent vows from oil sands rivals Imperial Oil Ltd. and Cenovus Energy Inc. despite recent one-year highs in U.S. benchmark oil prices.

Story continues below advertisement

Suncor, however, says it has restarted construction of two carbon-emission reducing projects paused last March as the COVID-19 pandemic erupted — a $1.4-billion project to install two co-generation units at its Oil Sands Base Plant and a new $300-million wind power plant in southern Alberta.

“We’ve restarted construction of the co-gen facility at Base Plant and the Forty Mile wind project, which is already accounted for within our current capital guidance,” Mr. Little said on the call, explaining both will provide “great value adds” for shareholders while reducing the company’s carbon intensity.

“That said, despite the commodity price outlook being well above our planning basis for 2021, I can assure you that we will not increase our 2021 capital guidance above the current range.”

Suncor has guided to capital spending of between $3.8-billion and $4.5-billion in 2021 while paying down between $1-billion and $1.5-billion of debt and repurchasing between $500-million and $1-billion in shares.

The company announced it sold its 26.69 per cent working interest in the producing Scottish offshore Golden Eagle project for US$325-million and contingent payments of up to US$50-million.

In a separate news release, U.K.-based EnQuest PLC said Thursday it is the buyer.

Mr. Little held a moment of silence at the start of the conference call to remember three contractors killed in accidents at its oil sands mining operations over the past two months, while vowing to investigate the events to ensure they don’t happen again.

Story continues below advertisement

Suncor reported a fourth-quarter net loss of $168-million on revenue of $6.6-billion, compared with a net loss of $2.34-billion on revenue of $9.6-billion in the same period of 2019, with both sets of numbers heavily influenced by asset writedowns.

The company says the current loss includes a $142-million after-tax transportation provision related to the recently cancelled Keystone XL oil export pipeline project, offset by a $539-million unrealized after-tax foreign exchange gain on U.S. dollar denominated debt.

It also includes a writedown announced last month of $423-million on its minority share of the White Rose and West White Rose offshore Newfoundland and Labrador oil projects owing to uncertainty about their future.

Suncor stock fell by as much as $1.17 or 5 per cent in trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange and was down about half that amount to $21.69 by early afternoon. Its 52-week high is $41.06.

The slide came despite analyst reports that credited Suncor for meeting or exceeding expectations in cost cutting and production and attributed the financial miss to the unexpected one-time Keystone XL provision.

Suncor reported total oil and gas production of 769,200 barrels of oil equivalent per day, down from 778,200 boe/d in the year-earlier quarter.

Story continues below advertisement

Refinery crude throughput was 438,000 barrels per day, down from 447,500 bpd a year earlier.

Your time is valuable. Have the Top Business Headlines newsletter conveniently delivered to your inbox in the morning or evening. Sign up today.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error
Tickers mentioned in this story
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies