Suncor’s Syncrude Fined $287,000 Over Oil Sands Worker Death

Suncor Energy Inc.’s majority-owned Syncrude Canada Ltd. unit was fined C$390,000 ($287,000) for an oil-sands mine worker’s death, one of a string of fatalities that prompted an investor revolt.

Syncrude, which is operated and 59% owned by Suncor, pleaded guilty to failing to ensure the safety of the worker, who drowned in 2021 when the excavator he was operating slumped into water and the cab became submerged.

The death was one of multiple fatalities at Suncor-operated oil-sands mines in recent years, a safety record that was a central theme of activist Elliott Investment Management LP’s campaign to shake up management.

The fine will be paid to the David and Joan Lynch School of Engineering Safety and Risk Management, the University of Alberta Geotechnical Centre and the Alberta Municipal Health and Safety Association and be used to develop an employer best-practice guide and field-ready mobile application.

Suncor agrees with the fine, spokeswoman Sneh Seetal said.

“Steps have been taken to improve the safety practices while working around water,” she said.

Top photo: Pipes at a oil-sands extraction site near Fort McKay, Alberta.