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 has 3,651 active cases of COVID-19. (File photo)
432 new COVID cases sets another record Friday

Central zone holds steady at 126 active cases

The future site of the Rimbey Travel Centre. Web photo
New Rimbey development aims to capitalize on highway traffic

Phase I of the Rimbey Travel Centre would be along Hwy. 20, if approved

"We are looking seriously at the spread and determining what our next steps should be," says Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, as the daily number of COVID-19 cases continues to climb.
427 new COVID cases is highest in Alberta ever

Central zone has 126 active cases of COVID-19

soup
Rimbey FCSS to introduce the Cultural Community Kitchen

The Cultural Community Kitchen sessions will be held at the Rimbey Co-op

robbery
UPDATE: Shooting suspect arrested by Wetaskiwin/Camrose RCMP

Rimbey RCMP had responded to a complaint of an armed robbery at the Bluffton City General Store

B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson, B.C. NDP leader John Horgan and B.C. Greens leader Sonia Furstenau. (Black Press Media)
VIDEO: One day until B.C. voters go to the polls in snap election defined by pandemic

NDP Leader John Horgan’s decision to call an election comes more than a year ahead of schedule and during a pandemic

Ryen Williams, 11, with a lost miniature horse at JJ Collett Oct. 23. Photo by Don Williams
UPDATE: Owners found

Father and son found him while out for a walk at JJ Collett

A Le Chateau retail store is shown in Montreal on Wednesday July 13, 2016. Le Chateau Inc. says it is seeking court protection from creditors under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act to allow it to liquidate its assets and wind down its operations.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Clothing retailer Le Chateau plans to close its doors, files for CCAA protection

Le Chateau said it intends to remain fully operational as it liquidates its 123 stores

U.S. border officers at the Peace Arch crossing arrested two men on California warrants this week. (File photo)
Ottawa predicts system delays, backlogs unless court extends life of refugee pact

Canada and the United States recognize each other as safe places to seek protection

Conservative member of Parliament Michelle Rempel Garner, left to right, Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole and Conservative Deputy Leader Candice Bergen arrive to hold a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, Oct. 22, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
No-confidence showdown over sweeping Tory motion on government handling of pandemic

The Conservative motion is to be put to a vote Monday and has the support of both the Bloc Québécois and NDP

From l-r., first lady Melania Trump, President Donald Trump, moderator Kristen Welker of NBC News, Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden and his wife Jill Biden on stage at the conclusion of the second and final presidential debate Thursday, Oct. 22, 2020, at Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Trump, Biden fight over the raging virus, climate and race

Republican president declared the virus, which killed more than 1,000 Americans on Thursday alone, will “go away.”

JJ Collett Natural Area Foundation held its AGM on Oct. 19 at the Ponoka Legion. (Emily Jaycox/Ponoka News)
De-listing Alberta parks creates ‘risk’ for coal mining: CPAWS

Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society speaks at JJ Collett AGM

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
Temporary COVID-19 testing sites coming to Wetaskiwin and Ponoka

The Wetaskiwin location will open Oct. 23, 2020 and the Ponoka location will open Oct. 29.

ACC President and CEO Ken Kobly spoke to Ponoka Chamber of Commerce members over Zoom on Oct. 20. (Image: screenshot)
Alberta chambers are ‘411’ to members, government: ACC president

Changes to government supports, second wave and snap election

Most Read