Canadian petroleum companies

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Although there are numerous oil companies operating in Canada, the majority of production, refining and marketing is done by fewer than 20 of them.[1] According to the 2013 edition of Forbes Global 2000,[2][3] and any other list that emphasizes market capitalization and revenue when sizing up companies, as of March 31, 2014 [4] these are the largest Canada-based oil and gas companies (they are either based entirely in Canada or majority Canadian owned). However more recent changes, possibly mergers or a stronger showing in the price of oil could mean a few of the oil sands producers are underrepresented; this is because Canadian companies are increasingly dependent on production from that source, which is hurt severely when oil prices decline below 50 to 60 dollars a barrel since costs per barrel traditionally exceed $28 and non-upgraded bitumen (<10o API) produces 1.7 fewer barrels per metric ton than West Texas Intermediate oil (according to calculation).[5] A few of the larger companies (Penn West Petroleum and Athabasca Oil Corporation) don't show up in the Forbes list because its ranking system takes many different factors into account. Syncrude and Irving Oil are also leaders in the Canadian industry, with Syncrude being the top producer of oil sands crude and Irving Oil operating the largest oil refinery in the country.[6] Also, based on the price paid for a 9% share in Syncrude Canada Ltd by Sinopec the company could be worth as much as US$50 billion.[7] Canadian oil company profits quickly recovered from the financial crisis; In 2009 they were down 90% but in 2010 they reached $8.4 billion; Helping profits is the smaller price gap between West Texas Intermediate oil ($85/bbl) and Western Canadian heavy crude ($65/bbl) with the price of upgraded synthetic oil surpassing WTI when supply falls (before being upgraded to synthetic crude, heavier oil produces fewer barrels of oil per metric ton than lighter oil).[8][9] The two largest (Suncor and CNRL) are 2 of the 11 most valuable Canadian companies (April 2013).[10] 2,412 oil and gas companies are based in Calgary, Alberta alone. [11]

Ongoing research and development involving extraction technology and processing methods are chipping away at many of the barriers to bitumen production. A number of Canadian oil companies have a lot of exposure to heavy oil through assets in Alberta, they stand to benefit when research into more efficient and cost effective solutions yields positive results (Petrobank has numerous patents related to extraction technology that at least one major engineering firm considers 17% more efficient than the widely used steam assisted gravity drainage).[12] In the summer of 2010 a research team at Hokkaido University discovered a catalyst that significantly improves the efficiency while lowering costs related to the processing of bitumen.[13] Major oil producers are showing renewed interest in new technologies, a direct result of both heightened interest in raising the proportion of the oil sands that can be recovered (10%, which means 1.6 trillion barrels (250 km3) are at stake) and the growing value of licensing rights. That has resulted in a shift in focus over to patent producing research and development. Cenovus Energy has used its patents as a tool to negotiate deals.[14]

Profiled and ranked is every Canadian oil and gas company with a market cap ranking top 500 worldwide and the eight largest by revenue (Nexen made Forbes list but not the top 500 companies according to market capitalization but it had the highest revenue among all other petroleum companies according to this list, addax petroleum became part of Sinopec). Eight of the ten most profitable companies of the oil and gas sector operating in Canada are represented here (other two were Athabasca Oil Sands Corp and Heritage Oil).[15] In 2011 Canadian Natural Resources overtook Suncor to become Canada's largest producer. Suncor produced 549,000 boe/d in 2012 only slightly higher than in 2011.[16] Canadian Natural Resources produced at a gross rate of 655,000 boe/d up from 600,000 boe/d the year before.[17]

Market capitalization (March 31, 2014), revenue (2016), profit (2016), production, reserves[edit]

Market cap. rank
Name Market cap. rank
(all companies)
Market cap.
(bln USD)
(bln Cdn)
(mil Cdn)
Production (000 bpd) *Proved Reserves
(bill barrels)
1 Suncor 188 51.4622 39.593 Increase3.9%
3,911 Increase43% 562.4 (2013)[16]
549.1 (2012)[18]
7.2 [19]
2 Canadian Natural Resources 237 41.8688 16.145Increase11%
2,270 Increase20% 671.162 (2013)[20]
654.665 (2012)[17]
598.526 (2011)[21]
2P 6.9 bbl (1.10 m3) eq
Proved: 4.51 bbl (0.717 m3) equiv.[22][23]
3 Imperial Oil 253 39.5332 32.929 Increase5.6% [24] 2,828 Decrease25% 295 (2013)[24]
282 (2012)[25][26]
2.153 bbl (0.3423 m3) eq[26]
4 Enbridge 270 37.8299 32.918 Increase33%
446 Decrease25.9% na na
5 TransCanada Corp. 331 32.2148 8.797 Decrease9.9%[28] 1,786 Increase32% na na
6 Husky Energy 361 29.5473 24.181Increase5.4%
1,829 Decrease9.5% 312.0 (2013)[29]
301.5 (2012)[30][31]
2P 2.915 (2.429)
2.375 oil .540 gas[30]
7 Cenovus Energy 458 22.599 [32] Sept'13 18.657 Increase11%
2,411 Decrease14% 258.8 (2013)[33]
230 [34]*RBC est
1.9 [35]
8 Encana na 22.692 [36] June'11 5.858 Increase13.5%
236 Increase
(2794) '12
516.7 (2013)[38]
527.8 (2012)[39]
9 Talisman Energy na 21.162 [36] June'11 4.486 Decrease37.4%
(1175) Decrease
132 in 2012
373 (2013)[41]
425.7 (2012)[42]
10 Crescent Point Energy na 17.317 [43] 3.526 Increase30.9%
144.876 Decrease24% 120.288 (2013)[44]
98.751 (2012)[45]

source for market cap,[4] source for profit. [1] Data rounded to nearest million.

  • By market cap, Crescent Point Energy is the largest Canadian oil company never to make the global 500 list, according to Forbes [2]
  • Encana, Talisman Energy last made the Fortune 500 list in June 2011; Cenovus Energy dropped out December 2013.
  • CNRL 2013 annual production was estimated to be 671,162 bbl (106,706.2 m3) equivalent/d based on indicated production levels of 192,922 bbl (30,672.1 m3) equivalent ngas (based on conversion factor of 5658.53 cubic feet::1 boe) and 478,240 bbl/d (76,034 m3/d) of oil.
  • proved reserves (doesn't include most bitumen/heaviest oil in reserves, in some cases probable reserves are included)
    • proved and probable reserves include those oil and possibly bitumen reserves estimated to be as much if not more than likely recoverable under most recent conditions, production of which is unrestrained by contingencies,[46] for instance, under ideal conditions (the right bitumen extraction technology and oil price) Cenovus's reserves could be as high as 137 billion barrels (2.18×1010 m3),[47][48] 114 times larger than those presently recognized.
  • After spinning off Cenovus Energy, Encana's production was 95% natural gas.
  • based on conversion factor of .00018225 from cubic feet of natural gas to barrels of oil equivalent (1/5487).[49]

Suncor Energy[edit]

suncor energy center

Revenue 36.82 bn MV 59.927 bn (2011)[15]

  • Suncor Energy completed merger with Canada's 11th largest company Petro Canada on August 1, 2009 in a 21 billion dollar deal to form the largest oil and second largest company overall in Canada.[50][51] At the time of the merger it had a market capitalization of $43 billion and held the biggest position in Alberta's oil sands.[52]
  • 680,000 barrels per day (108,000 m3/d) of oil production (532,000 from oil sands and conventional oil in 2008).[53][54]
  • with about $30 billion in revenue, $50 billion market capitalization and immense growth coming from the oil sands as a result of rising oil prices, the new company should rival the 12th and 13th largest oil and gas companies in the world Rusneft and Lukoil.
  • After acquiring Petro Canada, Suncor divested at least $2.8 billion worth of Petro Canada assets.[55]
  • In November 2010 Suncor was Canada's 4th most valuable company.[56]
  • Recently has shown renewed interest in developing patents (including ones for conveyor belts and hand railings), when considered with nine other oil companies patent applications were up 250% between 2005 and 2010 when compared to 2000 to 2004.[14]
  • In December 2011 oil sands production was at a record high 346,000 bbls/d.[57]
  • Total production steady in 2012 at 549 mboe/d. 2011 production fell 11.2% to 546 mboe/d due to the loss of output from Libya. In 2008 production was 680 mboe/d.[53]

Canadian Natural Resources Limited[edit]

Revenue 14.625 bn, MV 48.379 bn (2011)[15]

  • 34th ranked oil company in 2009 according to fortune 500, 251 overall.,[58] 7th most valuable Canadian company in November 2010.[56]
  • 2nd largest natural gas producer in Canada.[59]
  • During the third quarter of 2010 upstream oil and natural gas production reached the highest rate among Canadian producers (the rate was not maintained however, production fell back slightly due to planned and unplanned maintenance shutdowns).[56][60]
  • operates in the North Sea (4% of oil production), Western Canada (93% of oil / 97% of gas production), and West Africa (3% of oil / 2% of gas production).
  • In last quarter of 2011 company production leaped by a significant margin and stayed there: 2011 production: 657,599 b/d in the fourth quarter, 598,526 b/d over the entire year.[21] Gross output went on to average 655th b/d in 2012, 671th b/d in 2013.
  • oil accounts for 90% of product sales (2013).[20]

Encana Corporation[edit]

Encana HQ u.constr will be the tallest in W.Canada[61]

Revenue 9.097 bn MV 21.419 bn (2011)[15]

Encana, North America's largest natural gas producer was formed in 2002 when PanCanadian Energy merged with Alberta Energy Company.[62][63][64] It operates in Alberta, British Columbia, Nova Scotia, Colorado, Wyoming, Texas and Louisiana and had the largest reserve base among Canadian producers as recently as 2007.[65] At the end of 2009 Encana created Cenovus Energy when it split its integrated oil and natural gas components.[66] In February 2012 Encana sold 40% of its 100% interest in the Cutbank Ridge Complex, a natural gas resource in NE British Columbia.[67] The deal is worth $2.9 billion, in 2011 the company made $3.5 billion in deals. The deal came just after another one involving Petro China collapsed.

  • Headquarters: The 774 ft (236 m) tall skyscraper called The Bow is the tallest office building in Calgary and the tallest built in Canada since 1990.

Husky Energy[edit]

Husky gas station located in Edmonton, Alberta

Revenue 18.261 bn MV 23.648 bn (2011)[15]

Husky Energy was founded in Wyoming by Albertan Glenn Nielson who with 2 partners, bought 2 heavy oil refineries, and used them to establish the Husky Refining Co. in 1938. This was followed by major purchases of oil rich land and gas stations. In 1946 Nielson moved part of the company to Canada where Husky Oil Ltd. was created separate from the parent company. By the late 1970s the company's need for more funding eventually forced Nielson to sell all his stake in the company. Another Albertan, Bob Blair CEO of the pipeline company AGTL (later renamed Nova Corp.) took advantage of the situation gradually increasing his stake in the company until he owned a controlling interest. About a decade later Husky ran into financial problems that were solved when Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing started investing in the company leading to a buy out of Blair's interests in 1991. The 1988 acquisition of Centerra Energy Ltd. made Husky a top 10 Canadian oil company. After a turbulent couple decades, Husky reasserted itself as a major Canadian petroleum company in 2000 by purchasing Renaissance Energy Ltd. in a $3.02 billion deal.

Husky Energy has proven petroleum reserves of 430,000,000 barrels (68,000,000 m3) and 2 trillion cubic feet (5.7×1010 m3) of natural gas. It owns approximately 500 filling stations in Canada as well as property and/or mineral rights to some 6.67 million acres (27,000 km²) in Western Canada.[68]

Husky's oil production was exactly the same in 2011 as it was in 2003 (312,500 boe/d).[31]


Revenue 15.539 bn MV 21.664 bn (2011)[15]

Enbridge building in Edmonton, Alberta

Began as a pipeline company called interprovincial pipelines incorporated by Imperial Oil in the 1940s as a result of growth at the Leduc oil fields in Alberta exceeding the capacity of Alberta's refineries to process the oil. In 1950 its pipelines were operational and in 1953 it was a publicly traded company at stock exchanges in Toronto and Montreal. By the late 1950s its main pipeline was almost 2,000 miles (3,200 km) long handling about 200,000 barrels (32,000 m3) of oil per day in certain sections. In the late 1960s refineries in the US and Canada demanded more oil be delivered from Canadian sources, and the solution deemed best by management, and government officials was to build a new line through Chicago. The access expansion gave the company to Chicago helped the company grow rapidly and by the early 1970s throughput reached 900,000 barrels (140,000 m3) of oil. By 1986 Imperial Oil's ownership of the company was down to 33% and through an exchange of shares Imperial Oil helped interprovincial acquire another oil company called Hiram Walker while subsequently changing its name to Interhome Energy Inc. Later it was renamed IPL Energy Inc. During the 1990s it acquired a number of other companies (consumers gas, altagas, interest in Chicap pipeline) which delivered natural gas as well but most of the company's business was still in crude oil. The new divisions gave the company greater access to Toronto, Quebec and New York. Its last name change made in 1998 was to Enbridge Inc. a combination of the words energy and bridge.[69]

Currently Enbridge owns the world's longest oil pipeline system (delivers 2,000,000 barrels (320,000 m3) per day), owns Canada's largest natural gas distributing company, and has 1.9 million customers. It is also active in the alternative energy sector, having an interest in wind farms, waste heat recovery plants and photovoltaic projects the largest of which is the Sarnia Solar Project.[70][71]

Revenue comes from commodity sales (79%), gas distribution sales (6.9%), transportation and other services (14.0%).[27]

Cenovus Energy[edit]

Revenue 13.621 bn MV 25.049 bn (2011)[15] Cenovus Energy Inc. is the former component of Encana that focused more on integrated oil than natural gas though natural gas continues to contribute about half of total production (exceeded oil (crude and synthetic combined) as recently as the end of 2009 however a steady fall in output combined with new oil sands production has reduced that).

Cenovus Energy owns a 50% interest in two major US refineries operated by Phillips_66, which can act as a natural hedge for the company as commodity prices fluctuate.

Talisman Energy[edit]

In 2011 and 2012 Talisman sold off some of its largest assets including 50% of British operations; that resulted in revenue loss ($8.347b in 2011 to $7.312b in 2012).

Originally BP Canada, Talisman Energy is a publicly traded Tsx 60 petroleum company that operates in Canada, USA, Columbia, Scotland, Peru, Algeria, Tunisia, UK, Norway, Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, Australia, and Qatar.

  • 420,000 barrels (67,000 m3) of oil per day production.[72]


Nexen Building.JPG

Revenue 5.840 bn MV 11.986 bn (2011)[15]

In February 2013 Nexen was taken over by Cnooc in a $15.1 billion deal.[73] At the time, Nexen's 2.5 billion boe reserves would've ranked 8th among Canada's oil companies.[74]

When Nexen was created in 1971 it was a subsidiary of the American company Occidental Petroleum called Canadian Occidental Petroleum. After taking over a number of smaller companies in Canada while increasing their international holdings they became larger and more independent of their parent company that by then held only a minor stake. In 2001 the name was changed to nexen in recognition of that. In 2012 the company profited $333 million on revenues of $6.7 billion which is down since 2008 (US $8–9 billion, market value of US $11.14 billion, and a profit of US $1.68 billion).[75] On November 29, 2011 Nexen sold 40% of its Horn River, Cordova and Liard basins shale-gas assets in northeast B.C. to Inpex Corp and JGC Corp of Japanese for US$676 million.[76] At the Long Lake project oil is upgraded by a process known as steam assisted gravity drainage.

Operates in Canada, Yemen, Colombia, West Africa and the UK (offshore).

  • Market cap peaked in 2008 at between US$20 and 24 billion (at the time it was reported that oil major Total was prepared to offer US$19.7 billion for the company)[77] but has since fluctuated between $US10 and $US14 billion[78]

In February 2011 the Usan offshore oil field began producing. It has a capacity of 180,000 barrels per day and Nexen holds a 20% interest in it.[79]

  • production : 207,000 barrels (32,900 m3) of oil/day in 2011 16% lower than the year before. Production net of royalties was 186,000 boe/d.[80]


  • Based on the price paid for a 9% share by Sinopec the company could be worth as much as $US50 billion.[7]
  • Syncrude is the world's largest producer of oil sands crude.
  • Opened in 1978 and started expanding in 1996
  • is a joint venture involving 4 Canadian companies (80.97% owned), 3 American(19.93% owned), and 1 Japanese.[81]
  • #1 single source of oil in Canada[82]

Irving Oil[edit]

  • operates the largest refinery in Canada and has 1.3 billion dollars in revenue [6]
  • The family that controls the company includes 3 billionaires Arthur, James, and John E. Irving *Operates 769 gas stations in Atlantic Canada, New England and Quebec as well as the convenience stores at many of those locations and the Big Stop chain of family restaurants.
  • The company has been based in New Brunswick since it was established in 1924.

Addax petroleum[edit]

Addax Petroleum (Sinopec) was one of about 60 Canadian companies that made it onto the Forbes Global 2000 2009 list. It was acquired by sinopec of China in June 2009 for C$8.27 billion.

Other large oil and gas companies[edit]

These companies have at least 2 billion dollars in market value (6 of them being near or over $10 billion, the rest are between four and seven billion with the exception of Petrobank, Sherritt and Laricina Energy). In order of size

  • Corporations that were all trusts until 2011 when they converted
    • Canadian Oil Sands - 36% interest in Syncrude could be worth as much as $US15 billion, revenue was $3.703 billion in 2012 up from $3.46 billion in 2010, $4.54 billion in 2008.[7][83]
    • Penn West Petroleum - Revenue was $2.64 billion in 2012, down 12% on the year, down 35% since 2008.[84] For the first nine months of 2011 51.9% of company production came from light and medium oil up from 47.6% the year before (83,675 bpd out of 161,171 boe/d).[85]
    • Crescent Point Energy - Oil and gas company with interests in the bakken oil field of Alberta. Revenue doubled between 2008 and 2010 (averaged $400 million '06-'08, ~$1.0b '08-'10) then doubled again between 2010 and 2012 ($1.2b - $2.2b). annual production was 33.8% higher in 2012 at 98,751 boe/d (90.8% crude oil).[86] production was 41.5% higher in the third quarter of 2010 than the same period in 2009, to 65.548 bbl (10.4213 m3) equivalent/d (89% crude oil); in July 2010 acquired Shelter Bay Energy (38.1 kbbl (6,060 m3) equivalent of oil reserves) for $1.1 billion.[87] Its market value climbed from $5.5 billion in August 2009 to $7.7 billion in July 2010 then surpassing $10 billion late that year.[88][89][90]
    • ARC Resources - Just over $1.0 billion in revenue in 2012, 2011, and 2010 (up 23% versus 2009, about the same as it was in 2007), in 2009 revenue was at its lowest level in 5 years.
    • Baytex Energy - Most of production currently is heavy oil however many of its projects involve light oil.
    • Pengrowth Energy - For years between 2009 and 2012 revenue ranged from $1.1 to $1.2 billion, 16% more than what it was in 2006. Production grew 26.58% between 2006 and 2009 reaching 79,518 bbl (12,642.4 m3) equivalent/d (about half from natural gas) though production was highest in 2007 (87,401 bbl (13,895.6 m3) equivalent/d)[91][92]
    • Enerplus - Has operations and projects in four Canadian provinces (Western Canada) and seven U.S. states. Produced about 79,000 bbl (12,600 m3) equivalent/d in 2010 60% of which is natural gas. 2012 revenue was $1.19 billion about the same as 2010, half of what it was in 2008.[93]
    • Inter Pipeline Fund - Oversees one of Canada's biggest petroleum and petrochemical transport, pipeline and storage business; transports most of Canada's oil sands bitumen produced by such companies as Shell Canada, Chevron and Encana. Major moves include the 2007 $760 million acquisition of the Corridor pipeline in Alberta, 2008 $1.8 billion expansion of oil sands pipelines, 2004 $540 million purchase of 3 of Canada's largest natural gas treatment plants. Market value was $4 billion in 2008 more than 6 times what it was in 1997.[94]
    • Keyera - midstream company with 18 natural gas liquid processing plants in Alberta.
  • Independent Oil and Gas
    • Pacific Rubiales Energy - Deeply rooted in Colombia where it enjoys strategic partnerships with Ecopetrol (state oil company that produces about 63% of all Colombian oil and gas production) and where a major part of the company was started (Petro Rubiales, acquired in 2008 was one of the original developers of the Rubiales Field one of Colombia's largest). It is the 2nd largest independent oil and gas company operating in South America.[95]
    • MEG Energy - Borderline large cap oil sands producer with 5 billion barrels (790,000,000 m3) 6 billion barrels (950,000,000 m3) of 2P reserves in Christina Lake and Surmont (the 2 projects are 50 km apart).
    • Tourmaline Oil Corp - Primarily a natural gas company with operations in Northern BC and central Alberta. In the first half of 2012 88% of daily production was natural gas. In 2012 petroleum reserves were up 69%.[96] On November 30, 2012 Tourmaline acquired Huron Energy Corp for 7.4 million of its own shares (~$200 million).[97]
    • Paramount Resources Limited - Calgary based producer of oil and natural gas. The company operates in three Canadian provinces and two US states. Natural gas accounts for 80% of total production and 77% of total reserves.
    • Athabasca Oil Sands Corp
    • Niko Resources Ltd - Oil and Gas company with significant natural gas reserves in India. It is also one of the largest owners of underwater exploration properties in Indonesia (though it has a history that goes back to 1987 it only recently began producing at significant levels).
    • Vermilion Energy, Pembina Pipeline, Petrominerales, Petrobank Energy and Resources, Sherritt International Corporation, Laricina Energy (Private in-situ oil producer worth $1.2 billion)
    • A2N Energy, a company having estimated reserves of 560 million barrels. Currently in startup stage.

Forbes ranking of Canadian companies[edit]

113 oil and gas companies made the list in 2015 (down from 121 in 2014 / 98 in 2013 / 131 in 2012 / 126 in 2011 / 115 in 2010) 10 of which are Canadian (down from 12 in 2014 / 9 in 2013 / 13 in 2012 / 14 in 2011 / 8 in 2010).

In 2014 Enbridge and TransCanada re-entered the list after a one-year absence; Pembina Pipeline is also a new addition. Dropping out of the list was Canadian Oil Sands Ltd, Pacific Rubiales Energy in 2015, Penn West Petroleum in 2013, Arc Resources in 2012.

Revenue and profit are from the 12-month period ended March 2015, assets and market capitalization are from March (2014 for Canadian Oil Sands Ltd, Pacific Rubiales Energy)

May 2015
Cum. Rank
Name Rank (all)
Rank (all)
Rank (all)
2015 Rank
(oil companies)
2014 Rank
(oil companies)
2015 rev
2015 Profit
Market cap
March (mil.USD)
1 Suncor 142 149 188 20 Steady 20 Steady 34.0 1,300 62.9 44,900
2 Enbridge na 344 245 25 Increase15 40 Increase 32.2 600 54.2 42,000
3 Canadian Natural Resources 288 278 257 27 Increase4 31 Increase2 17.1 3,600 53.4 35,300
4 Husky Energy 289 315 399 35 Steady 35 Decrease1 21.9 1,100 34.5 21,400
5 TransCanada Corp. na 390 406 38 Increase6 44 Increase 9.3 1,700 50.9 30,700
6 Cenovus Energy 427 523 637 51 Increase1 52 Decrease11 17.8 674 21.4 14,600
7 Encana 1166 1189 677 54 Increase30 84 Decrease18 7.6 3,400 24.6 9,800
8 Crescent Point Energy 1532 1586 1362 86 Increase17 103 Decrease23 3.1 461 14.5 11,100
9 Pembina Pipeline na 1533 1547 94 Increase7 101 Increase 5.5 347 9.7 10,900
10 Talisman Energy 1043 1405 1728 105 Decrease10 95 Decrease35 4.6 (960) 17.3 8.000
11 Canadian Oil Sands Limited 1130 1296 na na 92 Decrease28 3.9 800 9.6 10,100
12 Pacific Rubiales Energy 1641 1704 na na 108 Decrease23 4.6 400 11.2 5,900

Sources Oil Services 2015 Oil Operations 2015 Oil Services 2014 and Oil Operations 2014

Key people[edit]

James Miller Williams, John T Ferguson, Richard L. George, Randy Eresman, David P.O'Brien, John C.S. Lau, Li Ka-shing, David D. Daniel, John Manzoni, Philip D. Dolan, Marvin Romanow, John Backer

See also[edit]


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