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Cenovus replies to low-blow from Norway’s trillion dollar oil fund

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From Cenovus Energy

Canada targeted (yet again) as a scapegoat for global climate change challenge

Alex Pourbaix, President & Chief Executive Officer, Cenovus Energy

The recent decision by the Norwegian wealth fund, Norges, to pull its investments in Cenovus Energy and three of our oil sands peers is another example of Canada being used as a pawn by institutions attempting to earn climate points. But these announcements are motivated more by public relations than fact. The data they used to assess Cenovus’s greenhouse gas performance is outdated and incorrect.

Here’s what Norges failed to consider in its decision. Cenovus has reduced the emissions intensity of our oil sands operations by approximately 30 percent over the past 15 years. We’ve set ambitious targets to reduce our per-barrel emissions by another 30 percent across our operations by 2030 and hold absolute emissions flat during that time. We are also focused on innovation that will help us achieve our aspiration of net zero emissions by 2050. Our peers have similar emissions reductions achievements and commitments.

The hypocrisy of the move by Norges is particularly rich, given the sovereign wealth fund amassed its $1 trillion value primarily from oil production profits. Moreover, Norway’s former energy minister is on record saying the country will produce oil for as long as oil is used. Energy is important to Norway’s economy, as it is to Canada’s.

The oil and natural gas industry accounts for the largest share of Canada’s exports and is the most significant contributor to the country’s gross domestic product. This country is amassing a huge deficit as a result of the COVID-19 response, with the parliamentary budget officer suggesting our national debt could hit $1 trillion. That’s more than $26,000 for every man, woman and child in Canada. Key to reversing this unprecedented debt load will be secure and stable tax revenue to support the economic recovery. Canada’s energy sector has contributed an average of $8 billion annually to provincial and federal government coffers and its strength is fundamental to ensuring this country emerges from the downturn stronger than ever.

Yet, the Canadian oil sands have become an easy target for primarily European investment firms and insurers who have made a big splash announcing they are severing ties with Canadian companies. Pulling out of the oil sands earns these firms headlines but doesn’t have an impact on their business because most of them were not heavily invested in Canada. Canada’s oil sands have long been the poster child for the anti-oil movement. It’s easier to attack a country that has a regulatory system designed to ensure transparency on its environmental, social and governance (ESG) performance than it is to go after oil producing nations such as Russia and Saudi Arabia where the commitment to regulation and transparency substantially lags Canadian expectations and standards.

As the leader of a Canadian company whose sector contributes billions to the national economy and directly and indirectly employs 800,000 people – including being the country’s largest employer of Indigenous people – I am standing up for our industry and for Canada. Enough is enough with these unwarranted attacks.

Cenovus and our peers are committed to doing our part to help meet Canada’s climate commitments and contribute to global climate change solutions. We’re investing millions in technologies to reduce our own emissions and collaborating with innovators around the world, including the support of initiatives like the NRG COSIA Carbon XPrize, which is focused on solutions to convert greenhouse gas emissions into valuable products and consumer goods.

Canada is the largest oil-producing jurisdiction in the world with a national price on carbon, and Alberta’s cap on oil sands emissions is an unprecedented commitment. Our industry is committed to achieving Canada’s 45 percent reduction target for methane emissions, addressing a greenhouse gas that is more potent than carbon dioxide. If investors are truly concerned about global greenhouse gas emissions, they should place greater value on Canadian oil and natural gas.

The world is undergoing an energy transition as action is taken to limit global temperature rise. Canada’s energy sector is going to play a key role in supporting the transition. But as we see today, energy and economic growth are inextricably linked and even the most aggressive emissions-reduction scenarios recognize that oil and natural gas will continue to be a significant part of the energy mix for decades to come. Canada has the world’s third largest oil reserves and a significant opportunity to provide the world with the low cost, lower carbon energy it demands.

Just as support for a strong energy sector has benefitted Norwegians, it’s essential for Canadians to recognize the importance of Canada’s energy sector in contributing to our collective economic future.

After 15 years as a TV reporter with Global and CBC and as news director of RDTV in Red Deer, Duane set out on his own 2008 as a visual storyteller. During this period, he became fascinated with a burgeoning online world and how it could better serve local communities. This fascination led to Todayville, launched in 2016.

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Alberta

Three Canadian teams to play in women's hockey Dream Gap Tour in Calgary

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CALGARY — Canada’s top players in women’s hockey will finally get to play real games later this month in Calgary.

The Professional Women’s Hockey Players’ Association (PWHPA) is holding Canada’s first Dream Gap Tour event in over a year May 24-30 at a Calgary venue yet to be announced.

Sixty players from the PWHPA’s three Canadian hubs in Toronto, Montreal and Calgary will play to determine the Canadian Secret Cup champion.

Secret, which announced a $1-million sponsorship of the PWHPA earlier this year, and the NHL’s Calgary Flames are the financial partners in the event.

Similar COVID-19 quarantine and testing protocols established by Hockey Canada for the world junior men’s hockey championship and national women’s and para hockey camps in Alberta will be incorporated.

Alberta tightened restrictions this week in the face of rising COVID cases, but Alberta Health has approved plans for the women’s tournament, PWHPA operations consultant Jayna Hefford said. 

“They believe the protocols, the quote-unquote bubble that’s been put in place, will secure the safety of our group and Albertans,” the Hockey Hall of Famer told The Canadian Press. “There will be no interaction with the public.”

While the PWHPA’s Calgary plans were in the works before Nova Scotia’s premier pulled the plug on this month’s women’s world championship, the Dream Gap Tour now offers an oasis in what’s been a pandemic hockey desert for the majority of players in the national women’s team pool.

The last real games many of them played came in a PWHPA tournament March 6-8, 2020 in Arizona. The last PWHPA event in Canada was Jan. 11-12, 2020 in Toronto.

The PWHPA’s American chapter has played a handful of games in the United States in recent weeks, although a two-day tournament in St. Louis was postponed from early April to May 16-17.

Canada’s mandatory 14-day quarantine upon return from outside the country kept Canadian players from participating in the U.S. games.

Stricter health regulations across Canada also made skating together in groups impossible at times and planning actual games in the country a non-starter.

“It’s been so challenging,” Hefford said. “We had to try to encourage our players to be patient early on in the season, and even in early 2021 we continued to reiterate we would only host events if we could feel really comfortable about the safety of everyone involved.”

The PWHPA, which includes Canadian and U.S. national team players, rose from the ashes of the Canadian Women’s Hockey League that folded in 2019. 

The goal of the roughly 150 players is a sustainable league that offers the competitive supports and training environments the male pros get, and wages that allow them to be professional athletes.

They’ve so far refused to join the six-team National Women’s Hockey League, which recently announced a doubling of each team’s salary cap to US$300,000 for next season. The Toronto Six is the lone Canadian club in that league.

The PWHPA held a series of Dream Gap Tour tournaments and events across North America in 2019-20 before the global pandemic brought the sporting world to its knees.

The pandemic continued to impede women’s hockey internationally and domestically.

The women’s world championship in Nova Scotia was cancelled a second straight year, although Hockey Canada is committed to hosting the tournament in August in a location yet to be named.

January’s world under-18 women’s championship in Sweden was called off, while a men’s under-20 champion was crowned in Edmonton that month.

The men’s world under-18 championship in Texas concludes Thursday. The men’s world championship is scheduled to open in just over two weeks on May 21 in Riga, Latvia.

The NHL, men’s minor pro leagues and major junior’s Western Hockey League and Quebec Major Junior Hockey League all operated in some form this winter.

Calgary’s Scotiabank, Toronto’s Sonnet and Montreal’s Bauer squaring off for a trophy and prize money can help revive the visibility of women’s hockey in Canada, Hefford said.

“We represent the players and we want to see them out there,” she stated.

“We have partners that have been so loyal and committed, so helpful in this process to move this forward, get the women back on the ice. 

“It seems like men’s hockey has gone on and we continue to hit these hurdles. 

“I hope this is a great opportunity for the women to play, but also for people to see the best of women’s hockey on the ice again.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 6, 2021.

Donna Spencer, The Canadian Press

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Alberta

Canadian Natural reports $1.38B Q1 profit, record quarterly production

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CALGARY — Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. reported a first-quarter profit of nearly $1.38 billion compared with a loss a year ago.

The oilsands producer says the profit amounted to $1.16 per diluted share for the quarter ended March 31.

The result compared with a loss of $1.28 billion or $1.08 per diluted share a year ago.

Revenue totalled $6.6 billion, up from $4.5 billion in the first three months of 2020, helped by higher oil and natural gas prices.

Production in the quarter was a record 1,245,703 barrels of oil equivalent per day, up from 1,178,752 barrels of oil equivalent per day in the first quarter of 2020.

On an adjusted basis, Canadian Natural says it earned $1.03 per diluted share compared with an adjusted loss of 25 cents per share last year.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 6, 2021.

Companies in this story: (TSX:CNQ)

The Canadian Press

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