CALGARY Comments from industry executives at the Reuters Oil Sands Summit on Monday.
ON THE PERCEPTION OF CANADA AS A SUPPLIER OF "DIRTY OIL"
We've got to do a better job in getting out and telling our side of the story… Our environmental footprint is the same as the heavy oil in southern California, which is the biggest producer in that part of the United States. You deal with the facts and not fiction and not political rhetoric. (Rick George, CEO, Suncor Energy (SU.TO))
There's a little bit of pot calling the kettle back if California is talking about oil sands without even looking a the oil derived from their own state.
Practically speaking, getting off oil is not going to happen for some time... If you accept that you are going to have to have a good source of supply, and where is that coming from? I think (Canada) is a pretty darn good place to source your crude. (Chris Seasons, President, Devon Canada Corp (DVN.N))
We don't have to make the choice between energy development of the oil sands and the environment. If we continue with the long track record of improvement, and improve it further, we can develop the oil sands responsibly so we do not have to make a choice (Bruce March, CEO, Imperial Oil (IMO.TO))
We call it oil sands not tar sands. Tar is a manufactured product, derived from coal. (Jean-Michel Gires, president and CEO, Total (TOTF.PA) Canada)
ON COSTS AFTER THE RECESSION SLOWS RED-HOT DEMAND
It's possible (that costs will rise back to where they were before the recession). I would hope not. I would like to think that we all learned something along the way.
There are benefits to having slower workforce (demand). In the old days you would hope that someone had left a gym bag behind so they would come back and pick up the gym bag and work the next shift. And that's not a joke. (Seasons)
We see that some costs are dropping. We have also seen over the past year that it's easier to hire employees and also keep them. (Lars Christian Bacher, president Statoil Canada (STL.OL) Canada)
We're trying several different technologies. One is to apply butane solvent into the steam to reduce the amount of steam that is required. The technology ... is proven at today's price environment. But there's an opportunity to use technological advances to drive down costs and drive down CO2 emissions. (Brian Ferguson, CEO Cenovus Energy (CVE.N))
We think (mixing solvents with the steam) has a lot of promise. If that works economically we think we are down to a range that's comparable with conventional oil and gas (in terms of the carbon footprint of each barrel of oil). I'm quite confident that the technology will get us there. (Devon Canada's Seasons)
It (carbon capture) is an interesting option, but it's just another option at the time being; it's not the solution... Interesting technological solutions are starting to exist but they are still too expensive. We need to find ways to reduce the cost. (Total Canada's Gires)
ON ENERGY TAXES/IMPORT RESTRICTIONS
If we are going to go to a carbon tax I am not necessarily opposed to that, but if you tax, you have to tax equally. If it's a carbon tax that excludes coal it makes no sense. The biggest emitter of CO2 is coal… If you want to tax the oil industry, call it the oil industry tax. Don't dress it up as something else. You can't just exempt coal. (Suncor's George)
If you impose fuel standards that restrict those kind of imports (oil sands), the cost of gasoline is going to go through the roof. The U.S. wants and needs this crude oil for a long time. We're just backing up imports from other parts of the globe (Russ Girling, COO of TransCanada (TRP.TO))
ON RISING CANADIAN DOLLAR:
Everything that we sell is pretty much in U.S. dollars, and the bulk of our costs are in Canadian dollars. It's put a squeeze on revenues at the end of the day. (Imperial Oil Ltd (IMO.TO) CEO Bruce March)