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Suncor won’t approve more oil production expansions until pipeline progress: CEO

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NEW YORK, N.Y. – The head of Suncor Energy Inc. says Canada’s largest oil and gas producer won’t move ahead with additional crude production expansions until there’s physical progress on getting pipelines approved.

Chief executive Steve Williams told a Barclays investor conference in New York that recent judicial rulings affecting Keystone XL and Trans Mountain pipeline don’t have any short-term impacts on Suncor’s ability to get its product to market.

But he says further production expansions won’t be approved next year and into 2020 until there is more clarity on the fate of pipelines.

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Williams says he’ll wait to see “physical progress on the ground” before he commits to them.

The Federal Court of Appeal last week reversed a cabinet decision to allow Trans Mountain construction to go ahead.

A U.S. federal judge earlier ordered the U.S. State Department to conduct a more thorough review of the Keystone XL oil pipeline’s proposed pathway after Nebraska state regulators changed the route.

Williams says that as a Canadian he found the delays “troubling” but not relevant to the company in the next three to five years.

Suncor is officially opening its Fort Hills oilsands mine on Monday as it works to add 10 percent to its production output this year and again in 2019.

It has been ramping up production and beat its guidance by delivering Suncor’s share at 71,000 barrels per day, at lower than forecast cash operating costs. Suncor owns a 43.11 percent interest in the open-pit and shovel mine, Total has 24.58 percent and Teck 21.31 percent.

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