Waiting to Launch 2023 mid-year update

Oilsands profits remain high, but companies are putting the brakes on energy transition spending, with no new investment in reducing emissions

Oilsands companies are on track for their second highest profits in a decade, yet they are making no new investments in reducing emissions, according to new research released by the Pembina Institute today. 

The Pembina Institute’s third update to its Waiting to Launch report provides an analysis of efforts by members of oilsands consortium, the Pathways Alliance, to reduce their carbon emissions.  

In the first half of 2023, returns to shareholders remained high, with 75% of all available cashflow returned in the form of share repurchases and increased dividends. Companies made no new investments in reducing emissions. One small piece of good news: emissions did not increase in 2022. 

It was a year ago when the Pembina Institute first released Waiting to Launch, examining the gap between Canadian oilsands companies' climate pledges and actions. Although 2022 was the industry’s most profitable year of all time, there were no new efforts by members of the oilsands consortium, the Pathways Alliance, to reduce their carbon emissions—despite having pledged to do exactly that.  

Based on figures from the first two quarters of this year, 2023 will be second only to 2022 for profits earned by Canada’s oilsands industry. 

Waiting to Launch Q2 2023 update