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Suncor looking for deals in Alberta’s oilsands ‘exodus’

Steve Williams, president and CEO of Suncor Energy, smiles before addressing the company's annual meeting in Calgary, Thursday, April 28, 2016.
Steve Williams, president and CEO of Suncor Energy, smiles before addressing the company's annual meeting in Calgary, Thursday, April 28, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

The head of Suncor Energy says the “exodus” of foreign companies from Alberta’s oilsands may not be finished yet, which could provide it with acquisition opportunities.

CEO Steve Williams says Suncor feels no pressure to buy, but is watching closely.

READ MORE: Alberta oilsands tailings showdown is looming: report

Suncor increased its ownership of Syncrude Canada last year from 12 per cent to over 53 per cent in part by buying U.S. firm Murphy Oil’s five per cent interest.

Other foreign companies selling oilsands assets in the past year have included Americans Marathon Oil and ConocoPhillips, Norway’s Statoil and British-Dutch oil giant Royal Dutch Shell.

READ MORE: Suncor says it will meet 2017 production targets despite Mildred Lake fire

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Suncor says it will use capital freed up by completion of construction at the Fort Hills oilsands mine and the East Coast Hebron offshore project to buy back up to $2 billion worth of its shares this year.

Suncor reported earnings of $1.35 billion or 81 cents per share in the first quarter of 2017, compared with $257 million or 17 cents a year earlier, thanks to higher commodity prices and oilsands production. In early trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange, Suncor was up 98 cents or 2.3 per cent to $42.61.