The 1960s is the birth of the company’s future. The U.S. parent company invests $250 million to establish the Great Canadian Oil Sands project in Fort McMurray. Some deem it "a daring venture into an unknown field" and "the biggest gamble in history." It is the largest, single private investment in Canada’s history.
Construction begins in 1964, with then president and chairman J. Howard Pew, saying, "I am convinced this venture will succeed, and it will be the means of opening up reserves to meet the needs of the North American continent for generations to come."
The 45,000 barrel per day project officially opens on September 30, 1967.
Darwin W. Ferguson becomes president of Sun Company of Canada.
Sun Company reduces interest to 55% in Sun-Canadian (a joint partnership with a company called Canadian Oil).
Sun Company of Canada celebrates its 50th Anniversary.
Expansions, mergers, discoveries and soul searching sum up the 1970s. The highlight of the decade is the formation of Suncor Inc. – a merger of the Canadian operations of Sun Company and Great Canadian Oil Sands. As the years progress, daily operational challenges at the oil sands plant (breakdowns, fires, freeze-ups, power shortages) force Suncor management to spend many hours examining the pros and cons of continuing the struggle.
The company perseveres and President and CEO Ross Hennigar is chosen to lead the company into the next decade.
Sunoco in Sarnia, Ontario opens first car wash and is the first company in Canada to offer low-lead gasoline.
Sun Company establishes Sunoco Exploration & Production Limited to explore in Canadian frontier areas.
Sunoco Exploration & Production Limited merges into Sun Limited.
Employees in Fort McMurray uncover bones of a woolly mammoth while extracting oil sands. Later, the company donates the bones to the provincial museum in Edmonton.
Sun Company transfers almost all of its downstream assets into a newly created subsidiary – Sunoco Inc.
Ross A. Hennigar becomes president of Sun Oil Company Limited and deputy chairman of Great Canadian Oil Sands Limited (GCOS).
Times are tough in the 1980s. The Canadian federal government announces the controversial National Energy Program to increase Canadian control and ownership of the energy industry. This significantly affects Alberta oil companies with many companies leaving the province. Add to that a collapse of world crude oil prices, a major fire at the oil sands plant, a long and bitter labour dispute, and the tragic death of President and CEO Ross Hennigar and times are tough.
Despite the lows, President and CEO William R. Loar, leads the company during its highs, which include an expansion of the oil sands plant, record annual production levels, and deregulation of oil prices, allowing oil producers to sell at market value. The roller coaster ride eventually ends.
Ottawa begins the controversial National Energy Program removing world crude oil price from first 45,000 barrels per day of oil sands production.
At the oil sands facility, the compressor house catches fire in -45C weather. When extinguished, the building is covered in ice that is chipped away.
The federal government deregulates oil prices allowing oil producers to sell at market value.