​Oil and gas still Canada’s biggest industry: This week’s best quotes

Suncor Energy's oilsands base plant north of Fort McMurray, Alta. Image: Joey Podlubny/JWN

Here are some of the most interesting quotes from new coverage in the Daily Oil Bulletin for the week ending Jan. 26, 2018.

New Cenovus Energy CEO Alex Pourbaix, discussing his focus the company’s post-ConocoPhillips deal focus on cost control and disciplined capital allocation in order to go back to investing in high-return growth:

“I’ve been on the job about three months now and I have spent a lot of that time evaluating the people, the assets and the business of Cenovus. To be clear, the board brought me in as an agent of change and it was clear to me early on that there were significant opportunities to streamline the organization…

“We’re going to be done all of the headcount reductions by around the middle of February. We’ve already dealt with the more senior employees in the organization. It’s going to be a tough couple more weeks, but I think at the end of it we’re going to have employees that understand that those cuts are behind us.”

Jackie Forrest, director of research at the ARC Energy Research Institute, commenting on the importance of oil and gas to the Canadian economy compared to other sectors such as manufacturing, which she noted spends about $30 billion per year:

“The good news is 2017 was so much better than 2016. We had 75 per cent more drilling in this province. This year we’re expecting a similar level of spending, about $45 billion.

“This is still a very important pillar of the Canadian economy, even at this level that is down quite a bit from the $80 billion we spent in 2014. It’s still the biggest.”

Russ Girling, CEO of TransCanada Corporation, discussing the company’s outlook for the long-delayed Keystone XL Pipeline, which has been approved with a new route through Nebraska:

“We are committed to moving this project forward…but we’ve got a lot of bruises of not being really careful and we will really [be] careful how we spend our money over the next 12 months.”

Kinder Morgan CEO Steve Kean, explaining the company’s decision to delay expected start-up of the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion by a year to December 2020. He said Kinder Morgan is not prepared to actually begin full construction of the US$5.7 billion project until it has the route approvals in place that will enable it to proceed contiguously:

“It gives us some time to get the clarity that we seek and still build a cost and schedule and execution plan…it would be very tempting and I think other companies have to just charge ahead, just start building and start spending. We have carefully avoided that.”

“I think that the magnitude of cloud or uncertainty is unwarranted, I would submit, in light of the way we are managing our approach to this opportunity.”

Robert “RJ” Johnston, CEO of Washington, DC-based Eurasia Group, speaking at the Calgary Chamber of Commerce about his outlook for Canadian oil and gas development:

“I'm still optimistic for Canada's LNG play. If we get our own house in order…there is a market there in China.”

“And I don't worry about 'the window is closed' or 'we missed the window.' There's another window coming. There will be another one after that. And another one after that…You really have to get out to 2050 or 2060 before I'd be worried about a drop in Asian LNG demand.”