Overview: Things are definitely slowing down for the oil industry in Alberta but despite this Suncor is still pushing forward with some of its flagship projects. Find out more in the blog below.
Calgary-based Suncor Energy has been hit as hard as any company by the sharp drop in oil prices. The oil and gas company posted net earnings of $84 million, down from $443 million the previous year – a reduction of 80%. But thanks to a variety of factors, the company is weathering the storm and pushing forward with some of their key projects.
Although Suncor recently announced that they would be cutting 1,000 jobs out of its total 14,000 workforce, they also suggested some hope for the industry. They announced that their $13.5 million oilsands project in Fort Hills will continue as planned, and part of this has been credited to the increased accessibility of skilled, local workforce as well as the falling cost of construction.
But it's not just falling costs and plentiful skilled workers that is spurring the Fort Hills project onward, it's also the company's financial caretaking during more prosperous times. As Suncor's CEO Steve Williams said, “Our commitment to capital discipline has put us in a better position to weather the price downturn.” Suncor appears to be using this time of low prices to invest in the future.
Williams also spoke highly of the importance of skilled local workers: "We're finding that people are much more local now, so we're not having to fly them in from such distances," said Williams. "We're seeing the quality of worker improve. We're seeing the productivity of the groups improve."
Only time will tell if the $1.6 billion that Suncor is planning on putting into the Fort Hills project will pay off, but the fact that some oil and gas companies are seeing past the current economic downturn and are looking towards better times can only be a good sign.
In fact, it seems that the current low oil prices are just another bump in the road for Suncor: "Today's low oil prices should not come as a surprise. In fact, on the contrary, it was the stable pricing of the last few years which represented the anomaly," said Williams.
To find out more about the Calgary oil and gas job market and the construction industry in general, contact Matrix Labour Leasing today on 403-201-9520.