Oilsands specialist Suncor Energy Inc. committed Wednesday to cut 10 million tons (mt) or 34% of its 29 mt/year greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 as a step toward the Canadian government’s target of national net zero in 2050.
The move coincides with investor enthusiasm for operators around the world to move toward net-zero emissions. It also parallels efforts to increase environmental, social and governance (ESG) efforts, said President Mark Little.
The cleanup feat would help regain public and investor respect for Alberta as “one of the world’s most reliable and ESG-leading oil basins in the world,” he said as part of the annual investor meeting presentation.
A C$1.4 billion ($1.1 billion) project underway at the Calgary firm’s 54-year-old bitumen mine and upgrader complex would achieve half the 2030 emissions goal, according to the company.
A 5 mt reduction credit would result when the project is completed in 2024. The credit would be used to substitute natural gas as power plant fuel for charcoal-like coke residue from oilsands output. As a bonus, surplus capacity would make the plant an 800 MW Alberta electricity grid supplier.
Additional power credits could be earned in 2022 by commissioning a 200 MW turbine generator farm, Forty Mile Wind, which is under construction in southern Alberta for C$300 million ($240 million).
“We have a portfolio of carbon reduction opportunities,” management said in its presentation.
By 2025, the firm expects to become Alberta’s third-largest electricity supplier with alternative power projects. Emissions-cutting plans also include oilsands energy efficiency measures, renewable and biofuel blends, hydrogen production, and carbon capture utilization and storage.
However, the carbon cleanup campaign does not spell an end to output increases from the oilsands, the top Canadian industrial consumer of natural gas.
Parallel to its emissions reduction goal, Suncor announced a 14% production growth target to 800,000 b/d by 2025 from its current 700,000 b/d.
Climate change policy stands out, even more than gyrating oil and gas prices, as the source of “the most uncertainty,” said Little. However, in Canada, companies are “motivated to move forward,” with industry and governments teaming up to adapt to carbon reduction.
“We will continue to produce oilsands for many decades to come, driving significant shareholder returns and value, and delivering further emissions reductions on our journey to net-zero by 2050.”
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