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Syncrude Canada Ltd. Transfer of Licences to Suncor Energy Operating Inc., AUC Decision 26614-D01-2021

Link to Decision Summarized

Facilities – Permits

In this decision, the AUC approved transferring the licenses to operate four transmission lines and two substations from Syncrude Canada Ltd. (“Syncrude”) to Suncor Energy Operating Inc. (“SESOI”). The AUC saw no need to consider approving the applied-for transfer of permits to construct the transmission facilities as they had already been constructed, and no additional facilities were proposed.


Syncrude operates an electric system, which has been designated an industrial system, to provide electricity to its oilsands operations (Mildred Lake Plant and Aurora mines) in the Athabasca Oil Sands Region (collectively known as the “Syncrude Project”). Syncrude applied to transfer five permits and licenses associated with the Syncrude Project to SESOI.

Syncrude stated that SESOI, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Suncor Energy Inc., was incorporated for the purpose of assuming the role of operator of the Syncrude Project. Syncrude confirmed that the transmission facilities will continue to service the Syncrude Project and that the proposed transfers do not involve any changes to the facilities.

AUC Findings

As all the transmission lines to which the permits and licenses of this application pertain are already built, there was no need to transfer permits to construct the facilities. The AUC, accordingly, only considered the transfer of licenses to operate the facilities. Following a review of the application, the AUC accepted that there were no unresolved public or industry objections or concerns regarding the application for transfer.

Syncrude stated that the proposed transfer does not involve any changes to the existing facilities and is only required to authorize SESOI to operate the transmission facilities proposed for transfer, which will continue serving the Syncrude Project as they have in the past. The AUC was satisfied that the requested transfer would have no effect on previously considered social, economic and environmental effects of the transmission facilities to be transferred to SESOI’s operatorship. The AUC was also satisfied that that SESOI meets the requirements of Section 23 of the Hydro and Electric Energy Act and is eligible to hold the licenses that are currently issued to Syncrude.

The AUC found the transfer of the licenses to be in the public interest. The AUC will issue new licenses to operate the transmission facilities to SESOI once it receives written confirmation from Syncrude Canada Ltd. of the precise date that the transfer of operatorship of the Syncrude Project to SESOI is to become effective.

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