The Current

Cenovus President says the oil industry is down but not out

We can't leave Alberta without taking a closer look at the oil industry. We hear from the people who are running companies in Alberta, from the CEO of Cenovus Energy on the decision to cut hundreds of workers, to other oil executives on how low prices are forcing a new wave of innovation.
"I am a strong believer that oil can be part of a low-carbon future as we go forward." - Cenovus President Brian Ferguson (Todd Korol/Reuters)
Anybody can be successful in good times, its hard to be successful in bad times. So if you are successful in the bad times, you have no problem to be successful in good times. That's the lesson I try to take from this whole experience right now.- Rafael Ford, Entrepreneur
Rafael Ford, head of Montan Energy in Calgary.
Rafael Ford heads up a company called Montan Energy - a startup that's aiming to develop oil and gas production and exploration in Peru.

He is an entrepreneur who finds himself trying to raise money for his startup at the worst possible time. And he knows, he's not the only one running into trouble. 

Cenovus Energy is one of the key players in Alberta's industry, with $20-billion in revenue last year. But it is clearly positioning itself as a different kind of oil sands company.

And while it may extract the oil differently from many others, it is not immune to the same economic pressures facing the industry.

Each week it seems another big oil company in Alberta announces another round of layoffs.

Brian Ferguson is the President and CEO of Cenovus Energy in Calgary. In February he had to reduce his staff by about 800 people. Although he is dealing with tough times, he says this is his 8th down-cycle. Which means he's also seen 7 up-cycles.

To look ahead to the future of the oil industry, Anna Maria was joined by:

  • Jim Gray has been involved in the oil and gas industry since the 1950's.  He co-founded Canadian Hunter and is now Chairman of the Energy Group of Brookfield Asset Management.    
  • Suzanne West is the CEO of Imaginea - an oil company that's only been around for a couple of years, but she has worked in the industry since the 80s.  

This segment was produced by The Current's Liz Hoath.