Record profits from Canadian oil companies still delay energy transition

The majors are under pressure from the liberal government of Justin Trudeau, determined to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions by the gas and oil industry by 2030.

by Hélène Jouan (Montreal, correspondent)

During the presentation of their results for the year 2022, the main Canadian oil companies have announced record figures: net profit of $ 6.5 billion (around 6.08 billion euros) for Cenovus Energy, eleven times higher than that of 2021; Imperial Oil (Canadian subsidiary of Exxonmobile) has more than tripled his ($ 7.3 billion) when Suncor made two (9 billion). In Alberta, a province, which alone represents 80 % of Canada’s oil resources, a record production of 1.4 billion barrels accompanied the outbreak of hydrocarbon prices. Scheduled during the year 2023, the completion of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project should make it possible to produce 500,000 additional barrels per day.

A boon for these companies, including more than 95 % of oil production, come from the exploitation of bituminous sand mines in Athabasca located north of the province. Because the sector comes out of almost a decade of slump: the fall in the oil price from 2014 then the slowdown in the world economy during the Pandemie de COVID-19 caused the bankruptcy of hundreds of small businesses, caused the Loss of 80,000 jobs in the fossil industry and dug public deficits of Alberta, whose finances depend closely on oil income.

But the energy crisis engendered by the war in Ukraine has radically changed the situation: the mirific results of Canadian majors bring the hope of reconnecting with the glorious hours of black gold, which made this province one of the richest in the country. Since 1967, the date of the first exploitation of an open -air bit of sandy sands, hundreds of thousands of workers have cleared the land, building roads, developing and operating production sites to heat and pump viscous oil Alberta subsoil, in order to earn their life very honorably.

“End of the period of expansion”

The new oil boom in progress, however, does not quite mark a return to the status quo ante: even Canadian oils feel, a little, the wind run. “We note today that with their record profits, they prefer to pay their shareholders with the payment of record dividends ($ 20 billion in 2022 against 5 billion in 2014) rather than continuing to invest,” explains Charles Arnaud, economist at the Alberta Central Bank in Calgary.

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/Media reports cited above.