​Cenovus Energy’s Aboriginal business spend nears 20 percent of its capital investment total in 2016

Cenovus Energy's Christina Lake SAGD project. Image: Cenovus Energy

Cenovus Energy reduced its capital spending in 2016 as major projects were completed and delays in new growth continued, but while total spending with Aboriginal businesses dropped, these firms got a bigger share of the Cenovus investment pie.

Last year 19 percent of Cenovus’s capital spend was with Aboriginal companies, the dominating thermal oilsands producer said in its 2016 corporate responsibility report issued on Thursday.

The figure is an increase from 17.3 percent of total capital spend in 2015, 12.4 percent in 2014 and 9.7 percent in 2012.

Cenovus had total capital spending of $1,026 million in 2016, a decrease from $1,714 million in 2015 and $3,051 million in 2014.

Last year $198 million of this spend was with Aboriginal companies, down from $297 million in 2015 and $384 million in 2014.

“We expect that our industry will continue to face economic challenges associated with oil price volatility. While this impacts our planned capital expenditure overall, working with local Aboriginal businesses will continue to be a priority for Cenovus,” the company said in its report.

“Our Aboriginal business spend as a percentage of total capital spend in 2016 was 19 percent, a reflection of our effort to engage Aboriginal suppliers as well as the growing number of qualified Aboriginal-run businesses. From 2009 to early 2017, we surpassed $2 billion in cumulative spend doing business with local and Aboriginal companies in our operating areas.”