​Oilsands consolidation will improve global competitiveness: Gibson CEO

Gibson Energy CEO Stewart Hanlon. Image: PWC

Recent consolidations in the oilsands are actually part of what helps inform Gibson Energy’s confidence in continued growth for the Western Canada Sedimentary Basin and the need for infrastructure services.

“We think consolidation, and those companies getting bigger, obviously getting better, becoming more efficient, and driving technologies and cost efficiencies into the basin, that is going to make the basin more cost competitive and more [competitive] on a worldwide basis,” Stewart Hanlon, president and chief executive officer, told Gibson’s annual general meeting on Tuesday.

“It is a world class resource, and so I think irrespective of politics it will continue to develop.

“Obviously, adding costs to the basin in terms of carbon taxes, increased corporate taxes, increased regulatory burden, et cetera, is not a good thing—those are headwinds. But we are of a point of view at Gibson that we can overcome those things, and we will see continued growth.”

As its terminal capacity at Hardisty and Edmonton grows by 20 and 100 per cent by 2019 and 2018, respectively, the midstream company is positioning for increased activity as the brutal industry downturn finally gives way.

“We still have room to grow, as 2017 and 2018 sees us deploy between $300 million and $500 million of growth capital almost exclusively into our infrastructure business—the majority of it being at Edmonton and Hardisty where we are in the very fortunate position of having already secured growth programs and plans in place, again secured by these long-term contracts,” Hanlon said.

“Looking forward to [the] proposed Trans Mountain expansion and other pipeline developments within the Edmonton area, we are very confident this growth program and trajectory of growth will continue beyond 2018 as well.”

Whatever Gibson’s future opportunities, though, it will have to pursue them without Hanlon at the helm. After 26 years with the company, the last eight as chief executive, he will retire from his current position within 12 months.

“I’ve always been a strong advocate that CEOs have a ‘best before’ date,” he told Tuesday’s AGM.

“I can assure you that as we move into the next phase, the next chapter of Gibson, your company is in absolutely great shape, and will continue to be very successful into the future.”