Suncor Energy Inc.’s logo is shown at the company’s annual meeting in Calgary on April 27, 2017.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

Suncor Energy Inc.’s logo is shown at the company’s annual meeting in Calgary on April 27, 2017.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

Suncor Energy says it will cut 10-15% of its workforce over next 18 months

The Calgary-based company had 12,889 staff at the end of 2019

Oilsands and retail fuel giant Suncor Energy Inc. says it will eliminate as many as 1,930 jobs over the next 18 months as a result of cost-cutting to deal with low oil prices and market volatility.

CEO Mark Little told employees on a conference call Friday morning the company will aim to reduce total staff by 10 to 15 per cent over the next 18 months, starting with a five per cent cut over the next six months, spokeswoman Sneh Seetal said.

The Calgary-based company had 12,889 staff at the end of 2019. Five per cent would equate to 644 positions and 15 per cent would equal 1,933.

“A few years ago we began to fundamentally change how we work, taking advantage of improved data technology, business processes, all with a view to improve our overall cost structure, accelerate free cash flow and strengthen our competitive position,” said Seetal, referring to what was dubbed the “Suncor 4.0” program.

“We always anticipated this transformation would result in a smaller workforce over time and one example … is the implementation of the autonomous haul trucks (driverless trucks employed at Suncor’s oilsands mines).

“That said, the unprecedented drop in oil prices, the continued impact of the global pandemic and economic slowdown, as well as continued market volatility, have accelerated those plans.”

The cuts are to be made across the entire organization, Seetal said, and will also affect Suncor’s ranks of contracted workers, although she was unable to provide those numbers.

Employees will be offered voluntary severance, early retirement and may potentially be redeployed if their jobs are eliminated, she said.

“What’s happening in Alberta today is nothing less than an economic emergency,” said Alberta Premier Jason Kenney at a news conference on Friday.

“The government of Canada would be moving heaven and earth if we saw layoffs of this scale in the central Canadian manufacturing industry.”

He called on Ottawa to “hit the pause button” on implementing a clean fuel standard opposed by many in the oil sector, as well as delaying ratifying the UN declaration on the rights of Indigenous people because of its potential creation of uncertainty for oilpatch investors.

“It is unfortunate to hear of additional job losses in the industry. The reality of the current situation is grim and taking a toll on the industry and on Canadians,” said Tim McMillan, CEO of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers.

CAPP, which estimates more than 28,000 direct and 107,000 indirect jobs have been lost in the sector so far this year, says the federal government should implement a plan for national economic recovery that includes taking advantage of an expected recovery in global oil and gas demand.

The news comes a few days after Royal Dutch Shell announced it would eliminate between 7,000 and 9,000 jobs worldwide by the end of 2022, a move expected to potentially result in hundreds of job losses among its 3,500 workers in Canada.

In June, BP, which has a smaller workforce in Canada, said it was cutting around 10,000 jobs from its global workforce to cope with the impact of the pandemic.

Suncor put projects on hold and cut its 2020 capital budget by $1.5 billion to a range between $3.9 billion and $4.5 billion in March to deal with lower oil prices.

At the time, a spokeswoman said the cutbacks would result in fewer jobs for contract workers and could “potentially” hit employees as well.

Suncor’s operations include oilsands development and upgrading, offshore oil and gas production, petroleum refining and retail fuel sales under the Petro-Canada banner.

Suncor shares rose on the Toronto Stock Exchange by as much as 2.6 per cent to $15.91 on Friday but remained at about one-third of their 52-week high of $45.12.

–with a file from Bob Weber in Edmonton

Dan Healing, The Canadian Press

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw announced 16 additional deaths Thursday. (Photo by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
No easing of Alberta’s COVID-19 measures Thursday, 678 new COVID-19 cases

The province also hit 1,500 COVID-19 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic

Lucas Berg, left, with the backpacks filled with essential items he donated to the Red Deer Mustard Seed Jan. 19, 2021. (Photo submitted)
Ponoka youth fills backpacks for less fortunate

Lucas Berg, 14, of Ponoka County, donated 20 backpacks he filled with necessities

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney said the Canadian government should consider sanctions on the U.S. if they refuse to reconsider the decision to cancel the Keystone XL Pipeline. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Keystone XL officially cancelled, Kenney vows to fight on

U.S. President Joe Biden cancelled the presidential permit for the pipeline on first day of office

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said province’s test positivity rate for COVID-19 is steadily declining. (Photo by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
669 new COVID-19 cases in Alberta, 21 additional deaths

COVID-19 test positivity rate down to 4.5 per cent

The Calnash Ag Event Centre will be closed for competitions until at least Jan. 21, 2020. (Emily Jaycox/Ponoka News)
Outlook for Calnash in 2021 a waiting game

Ag event centre losing thousands during shutdown

Gov. Gen. Julie Payette takes the royal salute from the Guard of Honour as she makes her way deliver the the throne speech, Wednesday, September 23, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Chartrand
Gov. Gen. Julie Payette resigns, apologizes for ‘tensions’ at Rideau Hall

Payette, who is the Queen’s representative in Canada, has been the governor general since 2017

Grounded WestJet Boeing 737 Max aircraft are shown at the airline’s facilities in Calgary, Alta., Tuesday, May 7, 2019. WestJet will operate the first commercial Boeing 737 Max flight in Canada today since the aircraft was grounded in 2019 following two deadly crashes. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Passengers unfazed as WestJet returns Boeing 737 Max to service on Calgary flight

After a lengthy review process, Transport Canada cleared the plane to return to Canadian airspace

(Photo submitted)
Community Futures brings back Social Media Challenge for 2021

This time the challenge is for non-profits and community groups

A conveyor belt transports coal at the Westmoreland Coal Co.’s Sheerness mine near Hanna, Alta., on Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2016. Coal mining impacts are already occurring in Alberta’s Rocky Mountains even as debate intensifies over the industry’s presence in one of the province’s most beloved landscapes. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
As Alberta debates coal mining, industry already affecting once-protected Rockies

UCP revoked a policy that had protected eastern slopes of the Rockies from open-pit coal mining since 1976

In this Dec. 18, 2020 photo, pipes to be used for the Keystone XL pipeline are stored in a field near Dorchester, Neb. TC Energy Corp. is planning to eliminate more than 1,000 construction jobs related to its decision to halt work on its Keystone XL pipeline expansion project. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Machian /Omaha World-Herald via AP
TC Energy cutting more than 1,000 Keystone XL construction jobs as Biden pulls permit

Some 200 kilometres of pipe have already been installed for the expansion

Kyla Gibson with her boyfriend Gavin Hardy. (Photo used with permission)
Sylvan Lake couple lose ‘fur babies’ to house fire

‘They were our world and nothing will ever replace them,’ Kyla Gibson said of her three pets

(Thesendboys/Instagram)
Video of man doing backflip off Vancouver bridge draws police condemnation

Group says in Instagram story that they ‘don’t do it for the clout’

Most Read