Canadian Natural Resources Ltd (CNRL)

InfluenceMap Score
D-
Performance Band
42%
Organisation Score
45%
Relationship Score
Sector:
Energy
Head​quarters:
Calgary, Canada
Official Web Site:

Climate Lobbying Overview: Canadian Natural Resources Limited (CNRL) does not appear to be supportive of policies to respond to climate change. Canadian Natural maintains support for a high GHG energy mix, especially a long-term role for fossil gas in the future energy mix.

Top-line Messaging on Climate Policy: Canadian Natural appears to have a mixed stance on climate policy in its top-line messaging. In June 2021, Canadian Natural and other major Canadian oil sands producers formed an alliance called Oil Sands Pathway to Net-Zero, through which it stated support for the net-zero by 2050 target and the Paris Agreement. Through its 2020 Stewardship Report published in August 2021, the company has stated support for Canada’s commitments in the Paris Agreement and supported the efforts to limit global warming below 2 °C. The company’s registration at Canada’s federal lobbying registry for January - June 2022 shows that the company has engaged on Canada’s Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act, although its position is undisclosed.

While Canadian Natural has stated support for government regulation to respond to climate change, the company’s overall stance appears to be mixed. For instance, in its website, when accessed in July 2022, the company supported the need for “strong environmental policy and regulation”. On the contrary, there is evidence to suggest that the company may not fully support ambitious policy. On its website, when accessed in 2021, the company stated that climate regulations should not compromise the competitiveness of energy intensive, trade exposed industries.

Engagement with Climate-Related Regulations: Canadian Natural appears to have mixed engagement with specific climate regulations. Canadian Natural states on its website that it is “not engaged on aspects of broader climate policy beyond the oil and natural gas industry, including broad-based carbon tax”, when accessed in July 2022. Nonetheless, it appears that Canadian Natural actively lobbies on elements of climate change policy, particularly on GHG emissions legislations. For instance, Canadian Natural’s lobbying registration in British Columbia revealed that the company had engaged on methane policy in the province, emphasizing that regulations should be efficient and effective, and maintain competitiveness. Canadian Natural has also revealed through the registration at Canada’s federal lobbying registry that it had engaged on methane regulation and the Clean Fuel Standard. In its 2021 CDP response, Canadian Natural appeared to support methane regulations with major exceptions, calling for regulations to be “implemented in a staged approach” and reflect reductions in emissions already achieved.

Canadian Natural also appears to be engaged on carbon taxes. For example, in March 2020, President Tim McKay signed an open letter to the federal government calling for the planned increase to the federal carbon tax to be postponed due to COVID-19. Furthermore, while Canadian Natural has maintained support for a carbon pricing scheme such as a carbon tax since 2016, as the 2021 CDP response shows, this support seems contingent on allowances for energy-intensive industries and revenues being directed toward developing technologies.

Positioning on Energy Transition: Canadian Natural appears to strongly advocate in favor of oil and gas. The company’s website, when accessed in July 2022, appeared to support a long-term role for oil and gas, claiming that the world needs more “Canadian energy”. Canadian Natural’s registration at the Canada’s federal lobbying registry shows that it had lobbied for oil and gas infrastructure funding and sought policy support for international market access for Canada’s oil and gas during the period January - June 2022. Similar lobbying activities were recorded in the British Columbia lobbying registry in June 2022, through which the company revealed that it had advocated for the Trans Mountain pipeline and LNG export opportunities. The company’s registration on the Alberta Lobbyist Registry for August 2020 - December 2021 shows that it had lobbied policymakers for an ongoing role for fossil gas in the energy mix as part of the phase out of coal. Additionally, over the same period, it lobbied for new financial subsidies to support the oil and gas industry for the COVID-19 pandemic relief.

Through its membership of the Oil Sands Pathway to Net-Zero alliance in 2021, it recognizes the need to reduce emissions from oil sands and the important role played by alternative energy sources. However, in the same source, it also highlights the need for fossil fuels up to 2050 and the continuation of tax credits for oil sands production.

Canadian Natural appears to support policies that incentivize carbon capture, utilization and storage technologies (CCUS), however support for CCUS appears to be alongside a continued role for oil and gas. Further, Canadian Natural fails to communicate the risks associated with a heavy reliance on fossil fuels with CCUS and does not appear to communicate about the proposed uses for CCUS. On the website, when accessed in July 2022, Canadian Natural claimed that CCUS is “an important technology” solution for getting to net-zero emissions in the oil sands. The company’s Fourth Quarter Report, published in December 2021, also appeared to support government patronage for CCUS deployment in the energy sector. Canadian Natural’s 2020 Stewardship Report, published in August 2021, supported the CCUS provisions in the Government of Canada’s budget; however, it went on to portray that CCUS technology would enable oil and gas presence in the energy mix, “well into the future”.

Industry Association Governance: Canadian Natural appears to show limited transparency on its membership of industry associations and does not appear to have undertaken an audit of its industry associations’ lobbying on climate change policy. Canadian Natural has disclosed its membership with the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP), Mining Association of Canada, and Oil & Gas UK, all of which appear to be engaging negatively on climate change policy. However, Canadian Natural has not disclosed further details of each of these organizations’ climate change policy positions or indicated whether Canadian Natural’s climate change policy positions are aligned with the industry associations in question.

InfluenceMap collects and assesses evidence of corporate climate policy engagement on a weekly basis, depending on the availability of information from each specific data source (for more information, see our methodology). While this analysis flows through to the company’s scores each week, the summary above is updated periodically. This summary was last updated in Q3 2022.

QUERIES
DATA SOURCES
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Strength of Relationship
STRONG
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
WEAK
 
35%
 
35%
 
51%
 
51%
 
52%
 
52%

How to Read our Relationship Score Map

In this section, we depict graphically the relationships the corporation has with trade associations, federations, advocacy groups and other third parties who may be acting on their behalf to influence climate change policy. Each of the columns above represents one relationship the corporation appears to have with such a third party. In these columns, the top, dark section represents the strength of the relationship the corporation has with the influencer. For example if a corporation's senior executive also held a key role in the trade association, we would deem this to be a strong relationship and it would be on the far left of the chart above, with the weaker ones to the right. Click on these grey shaded upper sections for details of these relationships. The middle section contains a link to the organization score details of the influencer concerned, so you can see the details of its climate change policy influence. Click on the middle sections for for details of the trade associations. The lower section contains the organization score of that influencer, the lower the more negatively it is influencing climate policy.