The plunge in oil prices has been a big negative for Canada’s energy producers. But it has also created some nice opportunities for Suncor Energy Inc. (TSX:SU)(NYSE:SU). We take a closer look below.

A strong position

Of all the energy companies in Canada, Suncor is arguably in the best position. The company has only $9.2 billion of net debt, a very small amount relative to its $50 billion market value. The refining and marketing division has been performing well, and provides a nice level of diversification. Of course, costs have been slashed.

Tellingly, Suncor generated over $900 million in operating earnings in the second quarter, while many of its competitors are bleeding cash. The company even raised its dividend to $0.29 per share.

A weak sector

Of course, the situation is much worse for the energy sector as a whole, particularly in Canada. Many companies are struggling to even stay afloat.

Back in the spring, lenders were willing to play nice—for instance, they were generally willing to rewrite loan covenants. But with no relief in sight for low oil prices, these lenders will likely act much more harshly.

As a result, we’ll likely see some forced asset sales, or even some bankruptcies. Thus, we should see some properties on the market with bargain price tags. That’s good news for Suncor.

How will this play out?

Normally, when a sector enters a downturn, the strongest companies buy either buy back their own stock or feast on the weaker players. But Suncor didn’t repurchase any shares last quarter, and didn’t make any acquisitions either. So, what’s going on?

Well, Suncor knows the situation will only get worse for many of its competitors. It has likely been biding its time, knowing it can eventually get some assets for pennies on the dollar.

Does this mean you should buy Suncor?

This doesn’t necessarily mean you should be buying Suncor shares. The company may be the best-positioned oil sands company, but that’s not saying a lot in this environment. Even worse, its $35 stock price implies a fairly robust oil recovery.

There are also concerns about where Suncor is spending its money. To start, the dividend shouldn’t be raised at a time when so many assets will be on sale. And the Fort Hills mega-project is still being built despite some questionable economics.

Many portfolio managers own Suncor simply because they have to own at least some energy stocks, and want to go with the strongest player. But the rest of us don’t have that limitation. So for now, I would pass on the stock.

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Fool contributor Benjamin Sinclair has no position in any stocks mentioned.