Oil Sands Truth: Shut Down the Tar Sands

[Suncor] Voyageur contractors to stay home

Voyageur contractors to stay home
Suncor asks workers to hold off ‘remobilizing’ in wake of plummeting oil prices
December 22, 2008
By CAROL CHRISTIAN // Today staff

Some contractors have been asked not to return to Suncor Energy right after Christmas as the company revisits its Voyageur project as oil prices sink lower than predicted.

Suncor spokesman Brad Bellows confirmed this morning the company has asked some of its contractor workforce to hold off “remobilizing” immediately after Christmas.

Bellows didn’t say how many workers would be affected.

“Some of the outfall from the capital spending plans that we laid out in October … is going to start to happen in 2009,” he said, explaining that request.

Bellows was referring to the Oct. 23 announcement that the company had cut its spending budget for 2009 by one-third. The revised $6-billion budget is a reduction of some $3 billion to $4 billion from Suncor’s original plans, and down $1.5 billion from 2008 spending of $7.5 billion. It was acknowledged at that time Suncor’s Voyageur project would be the hardest hit by the spending cut. The delayed spending on Voyageur would push the upgrader completion to late 2012 from late 2011.

Suncor’s $20.6-billion Voyageur project is designed to increase the company’s oilsands production capacity to 550,000 barrels per day. Key elements of this growth strategy include the construction of a third oilsands upgrader, west of Suncor’s existing facilities.

Suncor executives will be meeting mid to late January to review the 2009 plans.

“We will be carrying on with various parts of our growth plan, but it’s just getting the priorities and the schedules right so that we can live within our means,” Bellows told Today. “Crude prices are a little lower even than we had predicted in October so we’re going to have to do another assessment, but no decisions have been made.”

He added Suncor wants an opportunity to reassess and decide what its plan is going to be.

“We’re just taking kind of a pause to do that assessment,” said Bellows, adding there is no timeline for that pause. “We’re just asking them to stay tuned pending a chance for Suncor management and board to review capital plans for 2009.”

If there are any changes to the plans in place, they will be rolled out fairly quickly, said Bellows.


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