Suncor attributed the lower-than-expected 2012 spending to its new Firebag Stage 4 oil sands project, which came in 10% under budget, as well as slowing the pace of some projects it is jointly developing alongside France’s Total SA.One of those projects is the Voyageur upgrader, which would be used to transform tarry oil sands bitumen into a lighter oil refineries are capable of processing.Williams has previously said that burgeoning U.S. oil growths in regions such as North Dakota is putting pressure on the economics of the multibillion-dollar upgrader, which has been shelved since late 2008.“Together with our joint venture partner, we have accelerated the review of the Voyageur project with the intent to reach a decision by the end of the first quarter in 2013,” said Williams.“Until a decision is made, we have agreed to minimize spending on this project.”Suncor and Total are also reviewing the economic feasibility of their Fort Hills and Joslyn oilsands mines. Suncor has vowed to put cost and quality ahead of schedule ahead of those projects as a means to avoid the cost overruns that occurred during the last boom.About $3.3-billion of next year’s budget is to go towards growth projects, while $4-billion is for sustaining capital to make sure existing operations run smoothly.Total production next year is expected to be 570,000 to 620,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day, an increase from the 530,000 to 580,000 Suncor forecast at the end of 2011 for this year.Suncor shares fell 14 cents to $32.32 Monday on the Toronto Stock Exchange. CALGARY — Oil sands giant Suncor Energy Inc. said Monday it has set a $7.3-billion capital spending budget for 2013 and that it plans to make a decision on whether to go ahead with its Voyageur upgrader early next year.[np_storybar title=”Oil sands producers could feel squeeze as pipeline capacity tightens” link=”https://business.financialpost.com/2012/11/28/oil-sands-producers-could-feel-squeeze-as-pipeline-capacity-dwindles/”%5DPlans are under way to build oil pipelines south, west and east, but even if they are successful they’re not going to alleviate today’s problem: Many of Canada’s oil pipelines are full and it’s only a matter of time before they choke off oil growth.Continue reading. [/np_storybar]The 2013 spending plans mark a slight dip from the $7.5-billion Suncor had originally expected to spend in 2012, but an increase from its revised forecast of $6.65-billion announced along with its third-quarter results about a month ago.“Our 2013 capital plan demonstrates our commitment to be absolutely diligent in pursuing those projects expected to provide profitable, long-term growth for shareholders,” said CEO Steve Williams.“As a result of our disciplined and prudent spending in 2012, we will begin 2013 with a strong balance sheet and the ability to fund our capital program completely from internal cash flow.”Click to enlarge
“We’re very proud of the work we’ve done so far in places like Sierra Leone and Afghanistan, where more than 134,000 combatants laid down their arms with the UN’s help, but we acknowledge that we can do better,” said UN Deputy Secretary-General Mark Malloch Brown. “That is why these standards are so important; they will allow us to ensure that all phases of the process — from disarmament to demobilization to reintegration of former combatants back into society – are carried out smoothly, with due attention to the special concerns of different groups and situations,” Mr. Malloch Brown said. Many aspects of the new Integrated Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration Standards (IDDRS) are “field-tested,” having been drawn from the best practices of various UN agencies and missions currently working in peacekeeping. The UN has been involved in supporting DDR programmes since the late 1980s. In the past five years alone, DDR has been included in the mandates for multidimensional peacekeeping operations in Burundi, Côte d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Haiti, Liberia and Sudan. Simultaneously, the UN has increased its DDR engagement in non-peacekeeping contexts, such as Afghanistan, the Central African Republic, the Republic of Congo, Indonesia (Aceh), Niger, Somalia, the Solomon Islands and Uganda. This extensive experience has fostered a body of knowledge about the specific needs of key groups, including female combatants, children associated with armed conflict, and cross-cutting issues like gender, HIV/AIDS, and health. In parallel, attention has increasingly been paid to the longer-term requirements for stability, based on a growing awareness of the link between successful disarmament and demobilization and genuine and lasting opportunities for ex-combatants to reintegrate into their peacetime communities. The new Integrated DDR Standards acknowledge the difficulty of transforming individuals who have been scarred by conflict, in some cases for years or even decades, into productive members of their societies. In order to ease the transition, the Standards call for measures to provide psycho-social counseling, job training, educational opportunities and mechanisms to promote reconciliation in the communities where they return. Jointly developed over the past two years by staff members from peacekeeping missions, UN country teams and Headquarters, the Standards are being launched together with three accompanying tools that will ensure their widespread application.The Operational Guide aims to help users find their way through the IDDRS by briefly explaining the key guidance in each area, highlighting practical steps for the planning, implementation and evaluation of DDR programmes.The Briefing Note for Senior Managers contains key strategic and policy guidance.The web-based DDR Resource Centre (www.unddr.org) includes all of these documents, and serves as the UN’s ‘one-stop shop’ for all related information. “We’ve learned that while different combatants in various contexts may have similar concerns and needs, there are also many specific factors that must be taken into account,” explained Jean-Marie Guéhenno, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations. “A child soldier must be reunited with his family, while a person living with HIV/AIDS will have particular health concerns that require attention.” “By refining our approach to DDR,” he continued, “We can better help each ex-combatant to ultimately reintegrate into society, so that they can go from being a cause of insecurity to a force for growing stability in countries urgently in need of committed people who can contribute to the rebuilding process.” Also participating in the launch was Kathleen Cravero, Assistant Administrator of the UN Development Programme (UNDP), who said that a common approach to DDR in the UN system is a basic requirement for cooperation with its international and local partners. “Whether in Afghanistan or Haiti or Sudan, we must operate based on a coherent set of principles. This new set of standards is a system-wide accumulation of our DDR knowledge and experience. It is a concrete example of how the UN can deliver as one,” she said. The launch was simultaneously held in New York and Geneva. In both locations the launch of the IDDRS was followed by a panel discussion, including statements by representatives of Sierra Leone and Sweden on national or international initiatives on DDR.