Syncrude, Suncor challenge royalties

Alberta’s auditor general says oilsands giants Syncrude and Suncor are challenging their royalty deals with the province and he suggests billions of dollars are at stake.

EDMONTON — Alberta’s auditor general says oilsands giants Syncrude and Suncor are challenging their royalty deals with the province and he suggests billions of dollars are at stake.

The two oldest players in the oilsands have special royalty agreements based on the value of the tar-like bitumen they process. All other oilsands producers fall under a new tax structure that took effect in January, but Syncrude and Suncor were allowed to renegotiate their longtime deals.

The two companies are challenging the valuation of the bitumen they mine, and auditor general Fred Dunn estimates that $100 million in royalties are in question for 2009 alone. If the companies won their appeal, it would reduce the royalties they pay until 2016, and that could result in a costly legal battle that could drag on for years, said Dunn.

The auditor general also expressed dismay that the companies are disputing their royalty calculations so quickly after their new agreements with the province took effect.

Officials with Suncor did not return calls Friday and a Syncrude spokesman declined comment. Nor was provincial Energy Minister Mel Knight available for comment. But spokesman Jerry Bellikka said the ministry did not see the dispute as a major issue.

“It’s a difference in the forecasted price of bitumen for this year, based on the January prices, and a forecast for the remainder of the year,” Bellikka said. “We feel is should be the set price that was agreed upon and the company feels it should be different.”

Just Posted

Frantic final push for votes marks final day of divisive campaign

OTTAWA — The contenders in Monday’s federal election spent the last day… Continue reading

Former NHLer Clint Malarchuk shares mental health journey in Lacombe

Former goalie and current mental health advocate supports Schizophrenia Society of Alberta

Sunday Red Deer election forum on diversity, inclusion cancelled

A Red Deer election forum scheduled for Sunday afternoon has been cancelled.… Continue reading

Boy, 5, dead after being hit by truck his dad was driving at Alberta landfill

LAC LA BICHE, Alta. — Police say a five-year-old boy has died… Continue reading

WATCH: Red Deer Citizens on Patrol monitoring downtown with new program

Volunteers will patrol downtown Red Deer to help keep the city safe.… Continue reading

Your community calendar

Tuesday The Small Business Centre at Burman University’s School of Business invites… Continue reading

Ever since I was a youngster, my life has gone to the dogs

I’ve really been going to the dogs lately. “That’s for sure,” you… Continue reading

By necessity, some stories are sad

One of the comments I received was my columns have gotten away… Continue reading

RDC Kings draw, Queens soccer fall to Kodiaks

The RDC Kings moved one step closer to securing an Alberta Colleges… Continue reading

Scheer won’t say if Conservatives hired consultant to ‘destroy’ People’s party

TORONTO — With election day less than 48 hours away, Andrew Scheer… Continue reading

Man’s death in Richmond, B.C. suspicious, not random, say investigators

RICHMOND, B.C. — The discovery of a man’s body in a Richmond,… Continue reading

Quebec man found guilty of first-degree murder in slaying of ex-wife, stranger

ST-JEROME, Que. — A Quebec man was found guilty of first-degree murder… Continue reading

Most Read