Canada’s Cenovus names Jon McKenzie as new CEO and reports quarterly profit

By Arshreet Singh and Nia Williams

(Reuters) – Cenovus Energy on Thursday named chief operating officer Jon McKenzie its next president and chief executive as Canada’s second-largest oil and gas producer posted a fourth-quarter net profit after a loss last year.

McKenzie joined Cenovus as Chief Financial Officer in 2018 when Cenovus acquired Husky Energy, where he held the same post for three years.

Outgoing CEO Alex Pourbaix will transition to the role of CEO following the company’s annual general meeting on April 26, dedicated to working with the Pathways Alliance, a group of oil sands producers including Cenovus, which is developing a carbon capture and storage project to reduce emissions to reduce.

McKenzie said Cenovus’ future strategy will be very similar to that developed by its predecessor over the past five years. The company has focused on increasing production by 3-5% per year, reducing debt and returning value to shareholders.

“Both Alex and I have our fingerprints throughout the company’s strategy and we have partnered with the rest of our leadership team to develop it,” McKenzie said on a conference call.

Calgary-based Cenovus reported net income of $784 million, or 39 Canadian cents, for the fourth quarter ended December 31, compared to a loss of $408 million, or 21 Canadian cents per share, a year ago.

Global oil prices slipped from a multi-year high in the quarter but traded 9% higher year-on-year as Western sanctions on major energy producer Russia and an OPEC+ decision to curb production tightened global supply. [O/R]

Cenovus’ profits were also boosted by an increase in operating margins in its downstream refining business.

Total upstream production reached 806,900 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boepd), up from 825,300 boepd a year ago. Downstream production increased to 473,500 barrels per day (bpd) from 469,900 bpd a year ago.

Cenovus said it ramped up crude oil operations by rail in December after TC Energy’s Keystone pipeline was temporarily shut down following a leak in rural Kansas.

The company loaded nine unit trains from its terminal in Bruderheim, Alberta, to the U.S. Gulf Coast in December and January, but said the program has since been scaled back.

Cenovus shares were last down 1.8% at CA$25.5 on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

($1 = 1.3385 Canadian Dollars)

(Reporting by Arshreet Singh; Editing by Devika Syamnath and David Holmes)


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