Canadian Natural Resources was just ranked among Canada’s top five R&D spenders

Canadian Natural Resources president Steve Laut. Image: Todd Korol/Reuters

Canadian Natural Resources spent $527 million in 2015 on research and development, ranking it as the fifth largest Canadian R&D spender.

Five other oil and gas producers made it onto Research Infosource’s latest list of Canada’s Top 100 Corporate R&D Spenders:

  • Suncor Energy in 16th position, spending $200 million;
  • Imperial Oil in 17th place, spending $195 million;
  • Cenovus Energy in 30th place, spending $91 million;
  • Syncrude Canada in 45th position, spending $58.7 million;
  • And Shell Canada in 48th place, spending $52.2 million.

The overall top R&D spender on the list is Bombardier Inc. The aerospace company put a whopping $2.3 billion towards R&D in 2015, by far overshadowing the next biggest spender, automotive parts manufacturer Magna International, which spent $639 million.

Several oil and gas services companies also got onto the list:

  • Pipeline company TransCanada Corporation ranked 56th, spending $46.6 million;
  • Drilling company Trican Well Services ranked 62nd, spending $34.9 million;
  • Integrated drilling data solutions provider Pason Systems ranked 66th, spending $31.7 million;
  • Diversified engineering company SNC-Lavalin Group ranked 71st, spending $26.8 million;
  • Oil and gas solar energy provider, Canadian Solar ranked 76th, spending $21.8 million;
  • And drilling company Tesco Corporation ranked 99th, spending $11.8 million.

All the oil and gas producers and services companies fell in the rankings in 2015 from 2014, with the exception of Canadian Natural, Suncor, Imperial Oil and Canadian Solar, which climbed several places in the standings during what was a very difficult year in the industry.

As a portion of total revenue, R&D spending at Canadian Natural represented 4.1 per cent. This was much higher than R&D spending at Suncor, Imperial Oil and Cenovus, all of which spent only 0.7 per cent.

Shell spent 0.9 per cent of it gross revenue on R&D, TransCanada 0.4 per cent, Trican 2.9 per cent, Pason 11.1 per cent, Canadian Solar 0.5 per cent, SNC-Lavalin 0.3 per cent, and Tesco 3.3 per cent.

In the context of global spending on R&D by country, Canada ranks 11th in terms of total spend. The U.S. ranks first, Mexico 25th and Norway 35th.

As a percentage of gross domestic product, the U.S. is expected to spend 2.77 per cent of its GDP on R&D in 2016, Canada will spend 1.79 per cent, Mexico 0.45 per cent, and Norway 1.65 per cent. The biggest spender on R&D as a percentage of GDP will be South Korea at 4.04 per cent.

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