Boom, Bust and Consolidation

The five largest bitumen-extractive corporations in Canada control 79.3 per cent of Canada’s productive capacity of bitumen. The Big Five—Suncor Energy, Canadian Natural Resources Limited (CNRL), Cenovus Energy, Imperial Oil and Husky Energy—collectively control 90 per cent of existing bitumen upgrading capacity and are positioned to dominate Canada’s future oil sands development. In a sense they are the oil sands, and this report analyses their economics and their accumulation dynamics in the context of the latest commodity cycle: boom (2004–2014), bust (2014–2016), and restructuring and consolidation (2015 onward).