April 15, 2024

Suncor had at the least 12 office deaths at its websites between 2014 and 2022, greater than the remainder of its oilsands friends mixed.

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CALGARY — Oilsands large Suncor Power Inc., which has been closely criticized lately for an abnormally excessive variety of office deaths at its websites, reported that 2023 was its greatest yr ever when it comes to employee security.

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CEO Wealthy Kruger instructed analysts on a convention name that Suncor achieved its greatest total worker and contractor security efficiency within the firm’s historical past final yr.

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“We had no life-altering or life-threatening accidents for the primary time since 2015,” Kruger mentioned. “We had a virtually 50 per cent discount in lost-time incidents year-over-year and we had our best-ever recordable incident charge within the downstream and our second-best-ever within the upstream.”

The information marks a serious turnaround for the Calgary-based power firm, which between 2014 and 2022 had at the least 12 office deaths at its websites, greater than the remainder of its oilsands friends mixed.

Suncor’s security document was so poor that it attracted the eye of U.S.-based activist investor Elliott Funding Administration, who in 2022 made a public case for an overhaul of the corporate’s board and administration.

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Kruger himself, the previous CEO of ExxonMobil’s Canadian subsidiary Imperial Oil Ltd., was lured out of retirement final yr to steer a restructuring at Suncor within the wake of a spate of high-profile operational and monetary challenges on the firm.

He changed interim CEO Kris Smith, who briefly held down the fort following the 2022 resignation of Mark Little, who stepped down as chief govt someday after the dying of a employee at Suncor’s Base Mine close to Fort McMurray, Alta.

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Suncor Power’s base plant with upgraders north of Fort McMurray, Alta. on Wednesday September 27, 2017. Vincent McDermott/Fort McMurray Right now/Postmedia Community ORG XMIT: POS1709271654052880 ORG XMIT: POS2004212111409847 Photograph by Vince Mcdermott /Vince Mcdermott/Right now Workers

Kruger has applied various adjustments at Suncor throughout his roughly one yr on the job, together with decreasing the corporate’s worker head rely by 20 per cent, or 1,500 individuals, with a purpose to eradicate pointless or “unaffordable” work.

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That transfer, which price the corporate $275 million in severance, was price $450 million in annual financial savings, Kruger mentioned.

With what Kruger outlined as an “total urgency to enhance efficiency,” Suncor has additionally restructured its website groups, launched a brand new efficiency analysis system for workers and managers, and labored to enhance asset reliability.

The results of all of those initiatives is that the corporate met its exterior monetary steering for the primary time in six years in 2023, he mentioned.

However Kruger mentioned there may be nonetheless room for enchancment, together with at its Terra Nova offshore oil platform off the coast of Newfoundland, the place startup of manufacturing was delayed longer than anticipated.

“Regardless of total robust monetary and working efficiency in 2023, I take a look at it as we additionally left some on the desk,” he mentioned.

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One space Suncor will deal with in 2024 is chopping prices within the oilsands to maintain tempo with a few of its extra cost-efficient friends. The corporate is investing in driverless, or autonomous, mining vehicles with a purpose to minimize down on working prices, and expects to double its autonomous fleet to 91 autos this yr.

By the top of the yr, all the ore at Suncor’s Base Mine will likely be moved autonomously, Kruger mentioned, including the change to driverless know-how is predicted to avoid wasting the corporate about $1 million per truck per yr.

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Suncor Power staff stroll previous heavy haulers at a Suncor website north of Fort McMurray, Alta. on this 2014 file picture. Vincent McDermott/Fort McMurray Right now/Postmedia Community

Suncor earned $2.82 billion within the fourth quarter of 2023, up from $2.74 billion in the identical interval of 2022, the corporate reported after the shut of markets Wednesday.

The corporate mentioned its internet earnings for the three months ended Dec. 31 work out to $2.18 per widespread share, and included a $1.13 billion non-cash acquire because of the corporate’s acquisition of TotalEnergies’ Canadian oilsands operations.

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On an adjusted foundation, Suncor mentioned its working earnings had been $1.64 billion, or $1.26 per widespread share, within the fourth quarter, in contrast with $2.43 billion within the prior yr’s quarter.

The corporate mentioned the lower was primarily because of decrease crude oil costs and a weaker enterprise setting.

Suncor’s complete upstream manufacturing within the quarter was 808,100 barrels of oil equal per day, the second-highest quarter within the firm’s historical past, whereas its oilsands manufacturing hit an all-time document of 757,400 boe/d.

RBC Capital Markets analyst Greg Pardy referred to as the outcomes “spectacular” and mentioned in a notice that he’s reaffirming his “outperform” score on the inventory.

“As a turnaround story, Suncor’s robust fourth-quarter outcomes bolstered our confidence within the firm’s bettering working/monetary momentum — which we predict will translate into relative share value appreciation over time,” Pardy wrote.

Suncor additionally introduced that its board chair Michael Wilson will retire. He will likely be changed by Russ Girling, a former CEO of TC Power Corp. who has served on Suncor’s board since 2021, efficient March 15.

This report by The Canadian Press was first printed Feb. 22, 2024.

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