Photo: The Canadian Press
The TC Energy logo appears on a prospectus. TC Energy Corp. said it earned $358 million in the first quarter, compared to a loss of $1.06 billion in the same quarter last year when it incurred fees related to the cancellation of the controversial Keystone XL project. The Canadian Press / HO
The president of Canadian pipeline giant TC Energy Corp says the company sees a future opportunity to participate in the provision of small-scale nuclear power to the oil sands of Alberta.
CEO Francois Poirier told analysts on a conference call Friday that TC Energy believes oil sands is an “excellent use case” for small nuclear reactors, or SMRs.
He noted that the company already has a 48.4 percent ownership stake in Ontario-based nuclear power generation company Bruce Power, which would make TC Energy’s entry into the SMR space a logical step.
“We have the technical expertise to develop and evaluate these technologies, but I think it is equally important that we have business relationships with oil sands producers. We have all the surrounding and supporting infrastructure on site to provide for their steam and power needs,” Poirier said on Friday.
TC Energy has repeatedly stated that it believes “all forms of energy” will be necessary in the coming decades to address rising global energy demand and energy security concerns.
The company is also working to tackle greenhouse gas emissions. Earlier this week, it announced plans to evaluate a hydrogen production center in Crossfield, Alta, and last week announced a collaboration with GreenGasUSA to develop a renewable natural gas (RNG) network or hubs in the United States.
TC Energy is also actively seeking contracts and potential investment opportunities in energy storage, wind and solar projects to meet the electricity needs of the US portion of the Keystone pipeline system, and to provide renewable energy to the North American industry and oil and gas sectors.
Pourier suggested on Friday that nuclear power could be the next step in that process for the company, although it won’t happen this decade.
“The technology needs to be proven. In our opinion, oil sands producers will need to buy into one common technology until they have the expertise to operate and maintain a fleet for these purposes. All of this will take time,” he said. “So we’re looking at this as an opportunity for the 2030s more than the second half of the 2020s.”
According to the federal government, which has been investing in small modular nuclear research in the belief that it has the potential to help Canada reach its climate goals, the technology has the potential to replace conventional coal, fossil fuel power generation and the use of fossil fuels. fuels in heavy industrial applications.
The Oil Sands Pathways to Net Zero Initiative, a coalition of Canada’s largest oil sands companies, has also proposed accelerating the implementation of small nuclear reactors as part of its plan to reach net carbon emissions from oil sands production by 2050.
Pourier’s comments on nuclear power came on the same day that TC Energy said it earned $358 million in its first quarter, compared to a loss of $1.06 billion in the same quarter last year when it took on liability related to the cancellation of the controversial Keystone XL project.
The company said earnings were 36 cents per share for the quarter ended March 31, compared to a loss of $1.11 per share in the first three months of 2021.
Revenue for the three-month period totaled $3.5 billion, up from $3.38 billion a year earlier.
TC Energy said its comparable earnings for the quarter were $1.12 per share, down from a similar earnings of $1.16 per share a year earlier.
Analysts, on average, expected earnings of $1.11 per share for the quarter, according to financial market data firm Refinitiv.
TC Energy said in its forecast that it expects capital expenditures this year to be around $7 billion, up from a previous forecast of $6.5 billion, mainly due to higher NGTL system costs.
TC Energy’s stock closed $3.72, or 5.19 percent, at $67.95 on the Toronto Stock Exchange on Friday.