Suncor’s oil and gas CEO appears on the panel

Ottawa –

Suncor remains fully committed to eliminating its carbon footprint in less than three decades, the company’s CEO said Monday on Parliament Hill.

But Rich Krueger has been accused by some MPs of laundering his industry’s efforts to address climate change, including after he said he had not yet read in detail the fine print on new federal regulations to cut emissions from gasoline and diesel.

The regulations came into effect on July 1 and require gasoline and diesel producers and importers to offset their emissions through various investments, such as replacing energy sources at oil extraction sites with renewable or low-emission energy, investing in the production of biofuels such as ethanol or investing in renewable energy. Electric vehicle charging infrastructure.

Bloc Quebecois MP Mario Simard tried to get Kroger to explain the cost to his company of new clean fuel regulations, whether those costs would be passed on to consumers and how they would compare to Suncor’s major climate investment of installing a carbon capture and storage system.

“I haven’t studied the regulation in the six months I’ve been working here,” Krueger said.

Simard scoffed at the idea, saying in French that either Kruger didn’t really care enough about climate change to care about regulations, or he was a bad manager.

Kroger responded to say that it was aware of the regulations and had not looked at them in detail. He also said the company was meeting with them as required.

The early stages of the regulations had a limited impact on most companies, which were already doing enough to meet them. It becomes more stringent every year until 2030.

After the meeting, NDP MP Charlie Angus said he simply didn’t think Krueger didn’t know how much the regulations would cost.

“Someone as Mr. Kruger, who has been at the head of some of the world’s largest oil companies, knows what’s going on in the industry,” Angus said.

“This is a major battle area right now between the provincial government in Alberta, where he lives, and the federal government. It will have implications for us to meet our climate goals. And why has he read it? It’s simply unbelievable.” “.

Kroger was on the House of Commons natural resources committee to explain comments he made to shareholders in August about reducing his company’s focus on switching to lower-emission energy sources.

Krueger said his comments were misinterpreted as Suncor ending its commitment to reducing its carbon footprint, when the focus was really on ensuring the company is profitable now to be able to afford the investments required in decarbonisation.

He said it was about making sure the company was healthy now and in the future, and only investing in areas where the company could be competitive.

He added: “Our commitments to be part of the transition process have not changed.”

The company sold its solar and wind assets last year before Kroger took over as CEO. But Suncor is investing in clean fuels through its large ethanol plant in St. Clair, Alta., and has plans to build carbon capture, he said.

Last year, he said the company invested $540 million in decarbonization efforts.

Suncor is part of the Pathways Alliance, a consortium of oil sands companies that are banding together to invest in carbon capture. This technology has had limited use so far but is an important part of Canada’s emissions targets.

Liberal MP John Aldag said Suncor’s layout looked like a company trying to pump as much oil as possible while it still could.

“It sounds like you’re trying to get every last dollar out of the oil and gas sector,” he said.

The reality is that oil and gas will remain part of global energy sources for decades to come, Krueger said, and even if Canada produces less oil, that doesn’t mean the world will consume less oil.

“The question for me is where the investment will be made,” he said.

“I think oil and gas have a long life ahead of them, and the way we do it is what will make them more socially acceptable.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 16, 2023.

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