Skip to main content

Politician surprised with Irving Oil's strategic review announcement

Irving Oil's decision to undergo a strategic review of the company and its assets came out of nowhere for Saint John Rothesay MP Wayne Long. 

“Yeah, I'm surprised, I'm shocked. I think the whole community is kind of reeling just with the unknown,” said Long.

Long said he had no prior knowledge and read about it on the company's website Wednesday.

“Today, Irving Oil is announcing a strategic review of the company is underway, and a series of options are being evaluated related to the company's future,” read the statement. "Consideration will be given to a new ownership structure, a full or partial sale, or a change in the portfolio of our assets and how we operate them."

Long is hoping for more details. 

“I think to release that is one thing, to throw that bomb on the community is unfortunate,” said Long. “They're a private company, they can do as they wish, but hopefully they'll come out and clarify their position sooner than later.”

Long said everyone is left guessing, but federal restrictions could be a factor. 

“They produce gas and fossil fuels, if you will. You know, our government is focused on net zero by 2050, big productions by 2030. You know, part of that is restrictions on polluters if you will,” said Long.

Owned by Arthur Irving, the company's Saint John refinery has more than 1,600 employees and has the capacity to refine more than 320,000 barrels a day. 

When asked about the announcement in Ottawa on Wednesday, federal minister Dominic LeBlanc didn't have much to say. 

“I haven't spoken to Mr. Irving in a number of years. It's a private company and they can take the responsibility for the decisions that they make,” said LeBlanc.

Long said it's not uncommon for massive international companies to do internal evaluations. 

“But this isn't in character for them to absolutely come out with basically a press release that they're thinking of selling and they'll keep us posted,” said Long.

The member of parliament for Saint John Rothesay called Irving Oil a great community partner and a large part of the economy.

“I think it would be a sad day for the province if they decided to sell,” said Long.

Irving Oil also operates more than 900 gas stations and distribution terminals in eastern Canada and New England. 

For more New Brunswick news, visit our dedicated home page. Top Stories

Stay Connected