For decades, oil sands mining giants Suncor and Syncrude have been neighbours across Highway 63 in the Wood Buffalo region of Alberta. Suncor has been growing its ownership steadily since 2016 but the two have now finally come together on the ground as well. Suncor confirmed on October 1 that it has assumed operatorship of the Syncrude Joint Venture, which it said is “a critical step towards driving greater efficiencies and competitiveness across all Suncor-operated assets in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo (RMWB).”
The arrangement, which has the full support of the Syncrude joint venture owners and was initially announced in the fourth quarter of 2020, reflects Suncor’s confidence in the Syncrude asset and is part of a multi-year strategy to improve its operational performance, efficiency and competitiveness.
“In 2016 we acquired the interest of Canadian Oil Sands and since that time have continued to work with the other owners to find ways to capture increased value,” said Mark Little, Suncor President and Chief Executive Officer. “Since the plan to assume operatorship was announced late last year, we’ve worked closely with the Syncrude team as well as the other joint venture owners to ensure a smooth transition of operatorship. Today marks a new chapter for the Syncrude project and by capitalising on the collective strength of all of the Suncor-operated assets in the RMWB, we’ll work to improve operating performance and unlock significant value.”
In the RMWB, Suncor operates its Oil Sands Base Plant, in-situ assets Firebag and McKay River, as well as joint venture assets Fort Hills Limited Partnership and Syncrude. Since 2016, Suncor has grown its ownership in Syncrude from 12% to 58.74% through acquisitions. The Syncrude joint venture owners are operator Suncor (58.74%), Imperial Oil Resources Limited (25.0%), Sinopec Oil Sands Partnership (9.03%) and CNOOC Oil Sands Canada (7.23%).