Enbridge, operator of the world’s largest crude oil pipeline system, focuses on carrying petroleum from Western Canada—including the notorious tar sand fields of Alberta—to refineries in Ontario and the U.S. Midwest. It and its affiliates have other pipelines in several parts of Canada and United States and operate Canada’s largest natural gas distribution company. In July 2010 the company’s U.S. subsidiary Enbridge Energy Partners L.P.
Syncrude Canada is one of the leading players in the big, dirty business of extracting oil from the tar sands of northern Alberta. It is a joint venture owned by an investment trust and a group of six U.S., Canadian and Japanese oil companies, among them the Canadian subsidiary of ExxonMobil. The company has been targeted by environmental groups because of its large volume of greenhouse gas emissions, but Syncrude has experienced a higher degree of controversy over an incident in 2008 in which some 1,600 ducks were killed at one of the company waste ponds.
Production at Canada’s largest petroleum company is dominated by the highly controversial process of extracting crude oil from the tar sands of northern Alberta. Suncor has invested billions of dollars—and plans to invest many billions more—to make North America more energy independent, but uses methods that generate large quantities of the greenhouse gases responsible for global warming. Suncor, which in 2009 swallowed its competitor Petro-Canada, says it is trying to reduce those emissions, but the company is still a target of frequent climate protests by groups such as Greenpeace.
With operations in more than 100 countries, Royal Dutch Shell is one of the handful of massive companies that dominate the global petroleum industry. In 2008 it was the largest corporation on earth, based on its nearly half a trillion dollars in revenue. Formerly an unusual Dutch-British hybrid with two boards of directors, the company was reorganized in the wake of a scandal involving inflated reporting of its oil reserves.