Suncor CEO goes on defensive over lagging Canadian oil


Sounds like Suncor Energy Inc.’s top executive is getting tired of analysts asking questions about lagging Canadian oil prices.
On the company’s earnings call, Steve Williams was met with a slew of inquiries about how Western Canadian crude’s growing gap to US barrels is affecting his company. His answer: For the most part, it’s not. That’s a response he had to repeat more than once during the hour-long call.
Suncor has “minimal exposure to widening Canadian heavy differentials,” he said early into the call. “Let me just say that again. I’m sure it’s going to be a subject of discussion on the call today.”
Williams said Suncor made early investments in extra processing capacity at multiple locations to help get its supply to major markets. But that didn’t stop analysts, including Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s Neil Mehta and JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s Phil Gresh, from lobbing more questions on the Canadian crude slump. “I guess I’ll try Neil’s question maybe a slightly different way on the differentials,” Gresh said. Suncor isn’t the only company fielding questions about the Canadian market doldrums: Cenovus Energy Inc. said it trimmed output, stored some production in salt caverns and inked agreements to ship more crude by rail to get around pipeline bottlenecks and fetch better prices.

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