Alberta, the main oil-producing province, curtailed some 1 million barrels of crude per day this spring – about 20 per cent of Canada’s output – as lockdowns to curb the spread of the virus crushed demand for gasoline and jet fuel.
“Lots of Canadian crude is coming back on,” Chief Executive Mark Little said on a quarterly call with analysts. “By the end of the year, if we don’t have this upset with a second COVID outbreak, we expect essentially all crude in Western Canada to be back online.”
Western Canada made up nine-tenths of the country’s output, or 93 per cent, in February, before the pandemic triggered curtailments the following month.
Little said Suncor is discussing with partners when to restore an idled production train at its Fort Hills site, and that there is a “reasonable chance” it will be online by year-end.
Little’s comments had a more optimistic tone than just two weeks earlier, when he emphasized the uncertainty caused by countries starting and stopping their economic reopening plans.
Suncor posted a bigger-than-expected quarterly loss on Wednesday, as oil prices tumbled on the back of a rapid decline in global demand.
Shares were down 3.6 per cent in Toronto to C$23.12 on Thursday.