Imperial Oil says CEO switch not related to cost overruns at Kearl

Imperial Oil says CEO switch not related to cost overruns at Kearl oilsands mine CALGARY – A sudden leadership change at Imperial Oil Ltd. had nothing to do with a recent $2-billion cost overrun at the company’s Kearl oilsands mine in northern Alberta, the outgoing CEO said Thursday.Bruce March, 56, is leaving Imperial (TSX:IMO) to run parent company ExxonMobil Corp.’s global chemical operations after nearly five years in the role.Taking his place is Rich Kruger, the 53-year-old president of ExxonMobil Production Co. who moved up through the ranks in postings throughout the United States, as well as in the former Soviet Union, Africa and Southeast Asia.The change becomes official on March 1.“Rich is the right person at the right time at the right company. I can’t think of a better guy that I could have any more confidence in than him,” March said of Kruger.The two men have been friends for 10 years.The transition was “not at all” related to an announcement last month that the first phase of the massive Kearl oilsands mine will cost $12.9 billion, up from a previous estimate of $10.9 million. The project was initially expected to cost $7.9 billion.Imperial faced legal and regulatory delays in bringing enormous pieces of South Korean-made equipment to the mine site, which were shipped across the Pacific and then through the United States and Canada by river barge and truck.The 200 modules had to be broken up into smaller pieces so that they could be transported along interstate highways in Idaho and Montana and then put together again near Edmonton.That work added to the pricetag, as well as harsh winter weather around Fort McMurray while final construction work was being completed.Kearl is expected to start churning out oil by the end of the first quarter, March said.He said other factors went into the leadership change announcement, such as the timing of his entrance into the new role at ExxonMobil Chemical Co., which operates in 11 countries.Kruger added that it’s “very natural, logical timing,” given where Imperial is with major oilsands projects.“If you look at the stage of where Imperial is, with the first phase of Kearl being completed here, and now the startup imminent, this is very natural and timely for what we’re doing,” he said.“At ExxonMobil and Imperial, we plan succession well in advance.”Exxon Mobil owns about 69.6 per cent of Calgary-based Imperial’s common stock, which is listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange.Imperial is one of Canada’s largest oil and gas companies, worth about $36 billion.Kruger has a mechanical engineering degree from the University of Minnesota and a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Houston.The Minnesota native said he’s looking forward to living in Calgary.“I had hockey skates on at the earliest age and had a stick in my hand,” he said.March, from New York State, said he’ll leave Calgary with fond memories, pride in Imperial’s safety performance and no regrets.“I honestly don’t really have anything that I regret or I’m disappointed in,” said March.Kruger said not to expect big changes between his management style and his predecessor’s.“I think you’ll find that Bruce and I are cut from the same cloth in that regard. You don’t need a great memory if you always tell the truth and you tell it straight and we’ve been developed in the same business model and in terms of honest and ethical behaviour and everything that goes along with that,” he said.“We are all about value, value for the shareholder and doing that in a long-term, safe, environmentally sound, sustainable way. So I think other than some personal style differences that are just natural between individuals, I don’t think you’ll see a material change in how Bruce and I see the business and approach the business.”Imperial shares fell 27 cents to $42.55 Thursday on the Toronto Stock Exchange. AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email by Lauren Krugel, The Canadian Press Posted Feb 21, 2013 4:52 pm MDT read more

Automotive industry rallies to drive up fuel efficiency and drive down motoring

Reduce dragSimple fixes such as removing roof/cycle racks when not in use or keeping windows closed at high speed helps vehicles to remain streamlined. Buy a newer vehicleToday’s cars are around 23% more efficient than they were just 10 years ago, so motorists upgrading vehicles stand to save even more.Quotes from industry bodies about fuel-efficient drivingAA President, Edmund King“At 43mpg, improving your car’s fuel efficiency by just one mile per gallon saves at least 3p a litre at the pump. With a saving of £1.55 from a small tank or more than £370 a year, how much more incentive does a driver need? Eco driving not only saves fuel but can save lives. All the techniques required to preserve fuel, such as sticking to sensible speeds, can also preserve life. A fuel efficient driver is a safer driver. The AA Trust offers free eco/safe driving courses to new drivers at risk.” Regularly service your carSimple maintenance such as using manufacturer-approved oil, replacing air filters and checking wheel alignment can make an important difference to fuel consumption. Keep tyres inflatedIn the UK around 10 million cars typically have dangerously under-inflated tyres. Correct inflation would save one million tonnes of CO2 emissions and around £440 million in fuel costs per year. Remove excess weightRemoving unnecessary items from a vehicle is a cheap and easy way to reduce fuel consumption. Automotive bodies join forces to promote fuel-efficient driving that could save motorists more than £6.8 billion a year.Simple changes to driving style could improve fuel efficiency by 20%, helping motorists achieve official EU mpg figures.Quentin Willson, motoring journalist, “Consumers aren’t taught how to save fuel and it’s time they were.”The automotive industry has today begun its drive to help UK motorists save more than £6.8 billion each year through driving more efficiently. Six of the UK’s leading automotive bodies state that official European mpg (fuel efficiency) figures are within every driver’s reach just by adopting simple improvements to their driving style.The average driver could make a 20% saving on their fuel bill, boosting their vehicle’s efficiency to equal, or even exceed, official mpg levels. Without affecting time or speed of travel, a series of simple driving tips could reduce vehicle emissions by a fifth and improve road safety.“Motorists could save around 20% on fuel costs by making a few simple changes to the way they drive. We have rallied as an industry to communicate this message at all levels so motorists have the skills to save money and help the environment,” said Mike Baunton, SMMT Interim Chief Executive. “Official European mpg figures are a guide to how cars can perform, but the biggest factor in getting maximum mpg is the driver and that’s why we’re so keen to help drivers realise the benefits.”The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), AA, British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association, Guild of Motoring Writers, Institute of Advanced Motorists, Motor Codes, RAC and high-profile motoring media have rallied behind the win-win cause. Driving more efficiently could save the typical driver around £200 per year so, across the country, this adds up to savings of more than £6.8 billion annually. Today’s cars are around 23% more efficient than they were just 10 years ago, so motorists upgrading vehicles stand to save even more.Helping motorists to achieve or surpass official mpg figures is an important part of the move by the industry. The potential difference between the EU laboratory test can be confusing and industry believes it is important continually to help and educate drivers.Quentin Willson, motoring journalist said, “Everybody can make a dramatic difference to their mpg if they learn the simple craft of driving economically. Gentle pedal pressure, anticipation and watching the trip computer can improve economy by as much as 20%. Consumers aren’t taught how to save fuel and its time they were.”Fuel-efficient driving tips Consider a driving efficiency courseMaking a 20% cut in your fuel bill could add pounds to your pocket, so investing in a driving efficiency course could pay for itself. Guild of Motoring Writers Chairman, Richard Aucock“Motoring journalists are all too aware that readers are very concerned with the fuel efficiency of vehicles, and show great interest in features offering guidance on how to improve fuel economy. Such professionals are well placed to help explain to readers what steps to take in order to get more miles per gallon, and I feel sure this new initiative by the SMMT is just what’s needed to coordinate industry efforts in helping motorists save cash.” Read the roadAnticipating the actions of other motorists and the road ahead can reduce harsh acceleration and braking, cutting down fuel use on every journey. British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA) Chief Executive, Gerry Keaney“UK companies operate some of the most fuel-efficient vehicles on our roads, but many of these cars and vans are not being used to their full carbon reduction potential due to the way they are driven. By encouraging staff to adopt a more efficient driving style, firms can cut carbon emissions and save on their fuel costs. It is a no-brainer.” Motor Codes Managing Director, Chris Mason“There is often a barrage of information to be faced when buying or servicing a car and it’s important to remember to take time to digest what you’re being told. If you’re uncertain, don’t feel awkward about asking – it’s what dealers and responsible garage owners are there for. If you’d like to talk things through with an independent expert, give the Motor Codes advice line a call on 0800 692 0825.” Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) Director of Policy, Neil Greig“The official mpg figures are developed in scientific conditions, so matching them to the real world is difficult. But they are very useful when you are choosing your next car. Eco driving works and we would urge all drivers to give it a try – it will save your money. A light right foot is the key to saving fuel.” Be energy smartOnly use air conditioning systems when necessary, opening windows at lower speeds can better for fuel efficiency. RAC Technical Director, David Bizley“The best tip for fuel-efficient driving has to be getting rid of the heavy foot habit because that leads to filling up far more frequently and spending far more at the pumps than is necessary. Gentle acceleration and deceleration, and keeping a consistent speed makes for fuel-efficient driving which is also safe driving. This is not just good for the pocket, but good for the environment and other motorists.”Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window) read more