Nnaziri Ihejirika

Nnaziri Ihejirika has several years of engineering and operations leadership experience across the downstream, upstream, and midstream sectors of Canada’s oil and gas industry with Suncor Energy. He is also the founder of Clean-Efficiency, a sustainable energy advisory and advocacy NGO. Nnaziri has a degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Toronto, and an MBA in Strategy and Energy Management from the Vienna University of Economics and Business.

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                    [post_content] => Canada has been an enthusiastic developer and implementer of carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) technologies, currently accounting for nearly 20 per cent of installed CCUS capacity globally. Along with a steep hike in the federal carbon price announced in 2020, the government has crafted a hydrogen-centric strategy to support a decarbonized economic transition, with CCUS identified as a key enabler of both pathways. On the one hand, CCUS justifies continued investment in the oil and gas sector through the permanent sequestering of CO2. On the other hand, creating additional economic value from the blue hydrogen generated from CCUS can demonstrate the viability of carbon-negative hydrogen production using bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) or from electrolysis with offsets from direct air capture with carbon storage (DACCS). Oil and gas firms, supported by their peers in heavy industry, have announced blue hydrogen, oilsands CCUS, and carbon transportation projects which – if implemented – could transform the province of Alberta and disrupt the Canadian economy. Despite the bold vision of the government’s strategy and the announced projects, there are potential challenges to widespread CCUS deployment, including technological scope, project finance, and regulatory assurance. Carbon pricing will support project economics, but only up to a certain point, especially given the volatility of commodity markets and declines in Canadian oil and gas sector investment. And federal and provincial regulations – with the allied components of social, Indigenous and environmental support – will require clarity if announced projects are to be implemented.
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                    [post_content] => The Canadian oilsands resource has gone from being touted as energy security for North America to being derided as an energy-intensive form of oil extraction with no long-term future. New investment has been affected by the emergence of other unconventional oil sources, particularly light tight oil (LTO) in the United States. Environmental concerns have also weighed on the debate about the future of the oilsands. Compounding the threat, pipeline capacity has not kept pace with the growth in oilsands production, increasing the discount on Canadian oil relative to global benchmarks and applying downward pressure on operating profits.

The focus of this Energy Insight will be on the levers within the control of oilsands firms, and how effectively they have been deployed to sustain profitability during this turbulent period. From a firm perspective, the oilsands industry largely remained profitable during the oil price collapse and moderate recovery. Strategies adopted by the companies to remain profitable include cost leadership, vertical integration or a combination of both. The data suggest that under a low price environment, cost leadership is the best strategy for oilsands segments to turn a profit, while vertical integration offered an opportunity for the wider company to remain profitable in all business environments, even if the oilsands segment incurred losses.
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Latest Publications by Nnaziri Ihejirika