May 6, 2022

-Western Standard


Record profits are piling in for Canada’s big oil companies this first fiscal quarter.

Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault said oil giants ought to be diverting some of that extra cash to invest in projects that aim to curb their greenhouse gas emissions.

Guilbeault’s comments follow a week after Cenovus CEO Alex Pourbaix told analysts a fresh federal tax credit won’t work to convince the biggest players in the Canadian oil sector to start development of a newly proposed carbon capture and storage project.

Guilbeault says he is disappointed in comments made last week by Cenovus CEO Alex Pourbaix that the new federal tax credit for carbon capture and storage systems isn’t motivating.

Carbon capture and storage traps CO2 emissions at their source and reroutes them underground or into permanent storage. The technology is controversial. Climate scientists say its stated benefits are unproven, expensive, and permits fossil fuel production to continue.

“We won’t be putting even more and more money on the table,” Guilbeault said. “They have to invest as well.”

The comments came the same day Cenovus reported a record first-quarter profit calculation of $1.6 billion. A year ago, Cenovus’ profits were $220 million.

The company’s high profits are not unique to Cenovus, with the oil price spiking because of the war in Ukraine, supply chain issues and soaring demand, other oil and gas companies are looking at windfall profits.

Imperial Oil reported first quarter profits of $1.17 billion, its best first quarter in three decades. On Thursday, Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. recorded profits of $3.1 billion, as compared to $1.38 billion in 2021.

Guilbeault said many companies have invested to make their oil production more energy-efficient in recent years but that it wasn’t enough.