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Oilpatch leader Mark Little resigns following another death at Suncor site


On Thursday, a contractor was killed at Suncor’s oilsands base plant north of Fort McMurray — the second fatality on the web site this yr

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Suncor Vitality Inc. chief govt officer Mark Little resigned following one other dying at one of many firm’s worksites, sending shockwaves by the Canadian oil and gasoline sector.

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Calgary-based Suncor mentioned after monetary markets closed on July 8 that Little’s departure was efficient instantly, and that he would get replaced within the interim by Kris Smith, govt vice-president of Suncor’s downstream companies, together with its Petro-Canada gasoline stations.

The information got here sooner or later after a contractor was killed at Suncor’s oilsands base plant north of Fort McMurray — the second fatality on the web site this yr and the most recent incident in a string of office accidents and fatalities at Canada’s largest built-in oil firm.

Little had held the function for simply three years.

Suncor’s security issues and up to date sector-trailing efficiency attracted a public reproach from US activist investor Elliott Funding Administration LP in April. Elliott criticized the corporate’s security document and known as on Suncor so as to add new administrators and conduct a assessment of administration and property.

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The corporate had been within the midst of getting ready for a presentation subsequent week on the corporate’s plan to enhance security and efficiency at oilsands operations when the most recent fatality occurred.

The presentation was swiftly canceled and hypothesis started to unfold that Little would resign.

“They clearly have been going into subsequent week anticipating to spotlight addressing issues of safety and operational points and to speak about how (they’re) addressing them and what’s modified — now that this occasion occurred, there is no means that they might defend something that they have been going to say,” mentioned Phil Skolnick, an analyst at VIII Capital Corp.

“It is not like slicing a dividend. It is not like having a number of operational points the place you are continually lacking steerage. That is means completely different. That is all about folks, which brings it to a special stage.”

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13 workers or contractors have died in accidents at Suncor websites since 2014.

“Suncor is dedicated to reaching security and operational excellence throughout our enterprise, and we should acknowledge the place we have now fallen brief and acknowledge the crucial want for change,” board chair Michael Wilson mentioned in an announcement. “We commend Mark for his professionalism and the distinctive work he did to information Suncor by the pandemic and lead our sector’s progressive method to the vitality transition. We thank him for his years of service with the corporate and need him properly.”

The abrupt resignation of Suncor’s chief mars what was beginning to seem like a turnaround.

In June, RBC Capital Markets analyst Greg Pardy upgraded Suncor’s inventory to “outperform” from “sector carry out” and hiked the value targets, suggesting that conferences with administration had left them inspired that the corporate had a tighter grip on the steps required to regain its standing as a best-in-class operator.

mpotkins@postmedia.com Twitter: @mpotkins

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