CANADA IS THE 6th LARGEST OIL PRODUCER IN THE WORLD, AND THE LARGEST SUPPLIER OF OIL TO THE USA. HOW DID WE GET HERE?
This outstanding Canadian success story is primarily due to the rise of the Alberta oilsands. However, it was not always so. The Alberta oilsands industry struggled in the 1980's and early 1990's.
Then, a few key initiatives were implemented that revitalized the oilsands industry. These initiatives were originally conceived, developed and proposed by a handful of foresighted people. I was one of them.
I also initiated the successful turnaround of CanadianOxy's OIl & Gas Division, a move from 4th Quartile performance in 1986-1992 to top of 1st Quartile performance in 1994.
What did I initiate or co-initiate?
A Strategic Vision that the Alberta Oilsands could become the primary economic engine of Alberta, and many of the key initiatives that achieved that goal, including:
• New Crown Royalty Terms for the oilsands, implemented in 1997
• New Corporate Income Tax Terms for the oilsands, implemented in 1997
• A 50% low-cost production increase at Syncrude Canada Ltd. that reduced unit operating cost by 30%
• The acquisition of new oilsands leases for Syncrude that enabled major expansion of production
• Technical innovations that reduced costs
What did I initiate or co-initiate?
• Discovery of an economic borate deposit in the high Andes, now the Loma Blanca Mine.
• Overall Management of (later called) PetroKazakstan; sold for US$4.2 billion.
• Consulted with Texaco; we succeeded in two of three major acquisitions in Kazakstan, including the super-giant Karachaganak field.
• President of Odyssey Petroleum Corporation; Disposed of all FSU assets and acquired a 50% working interest in high-quality petroleum concessions in Egypt that grew to 40,000 boepd.
• Farmed out ~$40 million in exploratory wells and initiated the acquisition of the assets in the UK North Sea, leading to first oil production in 2012
Calgary Alberta Canada
Excerpts from my letter to Syncrude of July 27, 1990, re Syncrude Corporate Strategies.
It is significant that, more than twenty years later:
- all but one of these strategic recommendations have been successfully implemented, and
- Canada is now the 6th largest oil producer in the world, and the largest foreign supplier of oil to the USA. ____________________________________________________________________________________
The conventional oil industry in Alberta is now entering a period of decline in terms of volumes, revenues and profits. It has served as the primary "engine" of provincial economic growth and stability for the last 40 years. Similar roles have been performed in other areas by Hydro Quebec, Ontario Hydro and the German brown coal industry, to name a few examples. In each of these cases major economic and social benefits including jobs, energy self-sufficiency and markets for industrial products have been created by these strategic industries. As the conventional oil industry declines in Alberta, it will be necessary to find a suitable replacement. I believe it is entirely appropriate for the oilsands industry to fill this role.
We are at a critical point in the oilsands industry. Our future could consist of, on the one hand, two struggling plants, Syncrude and Suncor and little else, or alternatively, a thriving series of plants and major expansions eventually producing over half of Canada's crude oil supply and serving as Alberta's primary engine of economic growth and stability.
[Endorsement of the need for new Crown Royalty and Corporate Tax terms, as I proposed at the December 1988 Management Committee meeting, where we formed the Fiscal Terms Task Force.
I successfully proposed new Tax Terms (Class 28, later to become Class 41) for a major Syncrude expansion in March 1985.]
Our primary asset at Syncrude is the skilled workforce and the plant operating facilities. We should use these assets as a "strategic nucleus" for development of future plants and expansions. In my opinion, splitting Syncrude and OSLO limited our strategic options and we would have been better to keep them under a single organizational umbrella.
The declining orebody quality at Syncrude is a significant strategic issue which must be addressed. ... we should consider acquiring a better lease for Syncrude.
[Discussion of continued increases in SCO production, and the mitigation of possible bitumen shortfalls, as outlined in our "Opportunities for Additional Production" proposal, which I co-authored and presented to Syncrude in 1985.]
Sludge management is an obvious area for sharing of information and expertise between the players in the oilsands industry.
My expectation is that ultimately, solid landscapes will be required and we should be working diligently to this end. Note: This is not yet successfully implemented.
[Endorsement of SCO quality improvements as recommended by the SCO Task Force, which I chaired in 1990.]
Click on a file to download.