Whitecap Resources Inc. scored a financial comeback in the first six months of this year while also taking steps to further reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

Whitecap Resources

Following a series of acquisitions of smaller companies, Whitecap oil production grew to 72,475 b/d in first-half 2021 from 55,349 b/d a year earlier. Natural gas rose to 140.9MMcf/ from 69.5 MMcf/d. Liquid byproducts doubled to 10,413 b/d from 5,183 b/d.

On the environmental front, Whitecap is the current majority owner and operator of a southern Saskatchewan oilfield, Weyburn, which pioneered carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) in Canada. Whitecap lays claim to the world’s biggest commercial use to date of the GHG disposal system.

At Weyburn, carbon dioxide from coal power and gasification plants in Saskatchewan and North Dakota is compressed into a liquid that drives oil up mile-deep wells, which is then permanently sealed away underground.

The field has sequestered 31 million tons of the GHG since 2000. The total increases by 1.8 million tons/year. Official CCUS protocols credit the Calgary oil and gas firm with disposing of more carbon emissions than all of its operations generate.

Whitecap announced a plan to earn more cleanup credits by lowering the emissions intensity – or volume of carbon vented into the atmosphere per production unit – throughout its Alberta, British Columbia and Saskatchewan operations.

“After incorporating higher intensity acquisitions, we have chosen to increase our emission intensity reduction target to 30% by 2023 from 2019 levels,” said Whitecap.

The company also announced a plan tying compensation to meeting climate targets.

“In 2021, we added climate-related performance criteria as a component of our employee and executive short-term incentive plan,” Whitecap said. The step “is anticipated to help drive continuous improvement year over year and over the longer term.”

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Whitecap oil averaged C$69.81/bbl ($55.85/bbl) in first-half 2021, up from C$37.25/bbl ($29.80/bbl) in first-half 2020. Gas jumped to C$3.30/Mcf ($2.64/Mcf) from C$2.17/Mcf ($1.74/Mcf). Liquids nearly tripled to C$33.20/bbl ($26.56/bbl) from C$12.74/bbl ($10.19/bbl).

The Calgary firm booked 2021 first-half earnings of C$38.2 million ($30.6 million) or seven Canadian cents/share (six cents/share), sharply reversing losses of C$2.2 billion ($1.76 billion) or C$5.36/share ($4.29/share) during the same period of 2020.