Environment minister slams oilpatch for shelling out sky-high profits to shareholders


The federal setting minister is looking out Canada’s oil corporations for failing to put money behind their guarantees to sort out local weather change.

Steven Guilbeault says the nation’s main oil gamers have promised to do one thing about greenhouse gasoline emissions however as an alternative have funnelled most of their record-breaking profits to shareholders.

This is not less than the third time within the final six months Guilbeault’s frustration has spilled over as oil firm profits soar. This time his critiques got here within the type of a video posted to Twitter as main petroleum producers started releasing their third-quarter earnings.

“We’re already placing our cash the place our mouth is,” Guilbeault mentioned in an interview. “I’m unsure they’re.”

The first earnings report from the sector got here on Friday from Imperial Oil, which reported $2 billion in profits for the third quarter and $6.2 billion for the primary 9 months of 2022. That compares with $1.7 billion for the primary 9 months of 2021.

The firm mentioned it plans to spend $1.5 billion in share buybacks, and it elevated its quarterly dividend by 30 per cent.

Cenovus, Suncor and Canadian Natural Resources are set to launch their earnings subsequent week.

Those 4 corporations, plus MEG Energy and ConocoPhillips Canada, make up what’s referred to as the Pathways Alliance, a consortium shaped to sort out local weather motion within the oilsands.

Oil costs excessive after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

Global oil costs surged early this yr largely due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and Canadian corporations reaped the advantages.

In the primary six months of 2022, the Pathways corporations recorded profits in extra of $22 billion. That compares with lower than $6 billion within the first six months of 2021.

A spokesperson for the alliance wouldn’t reply to Guilbeault’s call-out on Friday, saying the consortium will not touch upon members’ monetary choices.

Two weeks in the past, the group mentioned it could spend $24 billion over the subsequent eight years on emissions-reduction initiatives however is trying for extra monetary assist from Ottawa earlier than kicking that into gear.

The corporations might get a few of what they’re asking for subsequent week when Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland tables her fall financial assertion. She would possibly use it to tweak the tax credit score for carbon seize and storage know-how she launched final spring.

The know-how that traps emissions from industrial sources and funnels them again underground is essential to oil and gasoline corporations as a result of it’s a main a part of how they will proceed to produce their merchandise whereas assembly their emissions discount necessities.

Incentive competitors coming from U.S.

The present tax credit score — primarily to cowl half the worth of capital investments — will price Ottawa about $2.6 billion over the subsequent 5 years and $1.5 billion yearly for 4 years after that.

Oil corporations had requested for protection of up to 75 per cent and weren’t pleased with the proposed 50 per cent.

Canada could also be pressured to up its sport as a result of the U.S. Inflation Reduction Act has extra beneficiant incentives for carbon seize know-how.

Guilbeault mentioned on Friday he didn’t know what the plan is for the tax credit score, although he acknowledged the U.S. incentive modified the home image.

U.S. President Joe Biden, seated, arms the pen he used to sign the Inflation Reduction Act to Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin, who held the swing vote, in August. (Leah Millis/Reuters)

“Of course we’re taking a look at what the U.S. has executed,” he mentioned. “It is a aggressive funding world, we perceive that. But on the identical time, I imply, the oilsands corporations are in Canada. And they cannot do emission discount initiatives within the U.S. If they consider in the way forward for their corporations, they’ve to make these investments in decarbonization in Canada.”

Guilbeault mentioned projections present that by 2050, the world’s demand for oil can be lower than one-third of what it’s at this time, and all of it is going to have to come from sources that do not add emissions via manufacturing.

“Will there be a spot for one of many highest emitting types of oil if they do not make these investments in decarbonization? I do not suppose so.”


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