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Syncrude Canada Ltd. Application for an Order Permitting the Sharing of Records Not Available to the Public Between Syncrude Canada Ltd. and Suncor Energy Operating Inc., AUC Decision 26584-D01-2021

Link to Decision Summarized

FEOC – Sharing of Records

In this decision, the AUC approved the application from Syncrude Canada Ltd. (“Syncrude”) for the preferential sharing of records that are not applicable to the public between Syncrude and Suncor Energy (Syncrude) Operating Inc. (“Suncor”), an affiliate company wholly owned by Suncor Energy Inc.

Introduction and Background

Syncrude filed its application pursuant to Section 3 of the Fair, Efficient and Open Competition Regulation (“FEOC Regulation”). Syncrude requested permission to share records related to the Syncrude Project, which consists of 10 oil sands facilities and two major production facilities located in the Municipality of Wood Buffalo.

Disposition 25054-D01-2020 previously determined that the operational information shared between Syncrude, Imperial Oil Resources Limited, CNOOC Oil Sands Canada, Sinopec Oil Sands Partnership, and Suncor Energy Inc. (collectively the “owners”) was not subject to the FEOC Regulation.

As of September 30, 2021, under a new Joint Venture Operating Agreement, Suncor is designated as the new operator of the Syncrude Project. Suncor will appoint Suncor Energy Marketing Inc. (“SEMI”), a wholly owned subsidiary of Suncor Energy Inc., to act as its agent in managing certain services for the Syncrude Project, including the use, sale, and settlement of power in the Alberta power pool. This will necessitate that Syncrude and Suncor share information that is not available to the public. Following the application and information provided to the Market Surveillance Administrator (“MSA”), the MSA advised the AUC that it supports Syncrude’s application.

Submissions of Syncrude

Is the Proposed Sharing of Records Reasonably Necessary?

In its application, Syncrude explained that SEMI would be appointed to act as Syncrude’s agent for dispatching and market requirements related to the Syncrude Project. SEMI will also conduct offer submissions on behalf of the Syncrude Project and will likely have discretion over offer behaviour. Accordingly, Syncrude asserted that the sharing of non-public records relating to the Syncrude Project is reasonably necessary for it to carry out its business.

Fair, Efficient and Openly Competitive Operation of the Electricity Market

Syncrude and Suncor each filed written representations confirming that the preferential information sharing would not be used in any manner that is contrary to Section 2 of the FEOC Regulation. Syncrude and Suncor further each indicated that they have respective codes of conduct in place to safeguard confidential and commercially sensitive information and access to such information.

AUC Findings

The AUC was satisfied that Syncrude had demonstrated that the sharing of records is necessary for Syncrude to carry outs its business and that the subject records will not be used for any purpose that does not support the principles of the FEOC Regulation.

The total offer control of Syncrude will be zero percent, and Suncor Energy Inc’s total offer control will be 10.5 percent after the execution of the new Joint Venture Operating Agreement. Both figures are below the offer control limit of 30 per cent, as set out in Subsection 5(5) of the FEOC Regulation.

Accordingly, and in consideration of the MSA’s support of this application, the AUC approved the application and issued an order allowing Syncrude to share records not available to the public with Suncor, subject to conditions set out in the decision.

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