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Apr 29, 2022

A Headline Yesterday Stated the Green Energy Transition Has Stalled — Why?

Posted by in categories: government, sustainability

Alex Pourbaix, the CEO of Cenovus, Canada’s second-largest oil and gas company, spoke up in a call with industry analysts where he criticized the plan and the money being offered to the industry. He called for a much large commitment from governments if the industry were to build large-scale CCUS. Pourbaix suggested that there were examples from other countries where the industry was being given up to 70% of the capital costs on new CCUS projects and was receiving additional money to offset operating costs.

While Pourbaix was complaining about the lack of money to build CCUS projects, he also announced to analysts that Cenovus had earned a seven-fold jump in its quarterly profits, and was tripling dividend payments to shareholders. This wasn’t mentioned in Jones’ article but did appear in the same edition of the paper, two pages later, tucked away well below the fold. It reported Cenovus had announced per-share dividends rising from $0.14 US to $0.42, with earnings exceeding analyst estimates at $0.79 per share. In the same report, Cenovus announced production output of synthetic crude from oil sands operations growing from over 769 to almost 800,000 barrels a day. There was no mention of GHG emissions contributions. And when I went to look at the company’s annual and quarterly reports, there was no reporting on GHG emissions or even intensity per barrel or per cubic metre related to production although there was a pledge to sustainability and best ESG practices. A 2020 Bloomsberg report states that GHG emissions at Cenovus continue to rise.

Cenovus is one of the founding members of the Clean Resource Innovation Network (CRIN). Its mission is to keep Canadian oil and natural gas companies competitive in world markets. Other members are fossil fuel companies, think tanks, academics, and government departments. CRIN acknowledges a low-carbon future but seems to lack a roadmap to get there. As I perused the website there was little information on strategies for carbon emission reductions. There was content related to intensity per unit of production as well as discussion about cleaner fuel standards. But I found nothing about CCUS.

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