Suncor Energy reports court date for environmental charges
Calgary, Alberta (March 13, 2009) — Suncor Energy Inc. reported today that it expects to enter pleas in Provincial Court on April 2 on charges filed against the company by Alberta Environment.
"These charges relate to contraventions a few years back, but they remain a disappointment today," said Rick George, president and chief executive officer. "While I'm grateful that there was no harm to the environment or human health, the fact remains that we did not meet the standards set by the province or the expectations we have of ourselves. We have taken the steps necessary to improve our management systems to ensure we remain in compliance."
The company expects to face a single charge related to exceeding approved discharge limits of wastewater to the Athabasca River. A subcontractor who operated water treatment facilities at two of Suncor's residential camps has pled guilty to reporting misleading or incorrect information and allowing discharges that at times exceeded the water quality limits in the operating approval. This incorrect information was also reported to Suncor. Although Suncor was not directly involved in the operation of the wastewater plant or the camp facilities, the company was the owner of the camp.
Suncor learned of potential issues in 2007 and has cooperated fully in the subsequent investigation. Suncor has also worked with the company that operates the camps to ensure appropriate actions were taken. The camp operator dismissed the individual who managed the plant operations and engaged a new subcontractor to manage the two treatment plants. Stakeholders were informed of the issue in October 2007 and Suncor is confident that the discharge volumes did not have a negative impact on Athabasca River water quality.
Suncor is also charged with regulatory contraventions related to emissions control facilities at the company's Firebag in-situ operations. As previously reported, in September of 2007 Alberta Environment issued an enforcement order against Suncor. The company has fully complied with the order.
Also as previously reported, in September 2007 the Energy Resources Conservation Board ordered production at Firebag to be capped until emissions were within operating approval limits. The cap order was lifted in July 2008. Construction of a $340 million sulphur plant that will support emission abatement plans at current and future in-situ stages at Firebag is targeted for completion later this year. Emissions were, and continue to be, within Alberta occupational health and safety limits.
This news release contains forward-looking statements identified by the words "expect", "targeted" and similar expressions that address expectations or projections about the future. Forward-looking statements are based on Suncor's current goals, expectations, estimates, projections and assumptions made in light of its experiences and the risks, uncertainties and other factors related to its business. Assumptions used to develop our outlook are based on year-to-date performance and management's best estimates for the remainder of the year. Readers are cautioned that actual results could differ materially from those expressed or implied as a result of changes to Suncor's plans and the impact of events, risks and uncertainties discussed in Suncor's current annual information form/form 40-F, annual and quarterly reports to shareholders and other documents filed with Canadian securities commissions at www.sedar.com and the UnitedStates Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) at www.sec.gov.
Suncor Energy Inc. is an integrated energy company headquartered in Calgary, Alberta. Suncor's oil sands business, located near Fort McMurray, Alberta, extracts and upgrades oil sands and markets refinery feedstock and diesel fuel, while operations throughout western Canada produce natural gas. Suncor operates a refining and marketing business in Ontario with retail distribution under the Sunoco brand. U.S.A. downstream assets include pipeline and refining operations in Colorado and Wyoming and retail sales in the Denver area under the Phillips 66® brand. Suncor's common shares (symbol: SU) are listed on the Toronto and New York stock exchanges.
Suncor Energy (U.S.A.) Inc. is an authorized licensee of the Phillips 66® brand and marks in the state of Colorado. Sunoco in Canada is separate and unrelated to Sunoco in the United States, which is owned by Sunoco, Inc. of Philadelphia.
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