15th April 2014

First Nations proposes Northern Gateway pipeline alternative following plebiscite setback – by Yadullah Hussain and Jeff Lewis (National Post – April 15, 2014)

The National Post is Canada’s second largest national paper.

TORONTO/CALGARY — As Enbridge Inc. reels from the rejection by residents of Kitimat, B.C. of the Northern Gateway pipeline, a First Nations-led consortium is seeking to build an alternative project that would link Alberta’s oil sands to the British Columbia coast.

Eagle Spirit Energy Holdings Ltd. and Vancouver-based Aquilini Group say they have signed non-disclosure agreements with a “substantial number” of First Nation groups in northern B.C., including some “staunchly opposed” to the Enbridge project.

The one-million barrel-per-day pipeline has a tentative 2020 start date once it secures a “social licence” from First Nations to operate, the group said at a media conference in Vancouver on Monday.

“The only licence that matters to do this [project] in British Columbia is the social licence from the First Nations community,” said Calvin Helin, chairman and president of Eagle Spirit Energy Holdings, noting that he spent a year and a half listening carefully to the feedback from and concerns of First Nations. The group will file an application with the National Energy Board only after it has addressed all First Nations’ concerns and issues. Read the rest of this entry »

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14th April 2014

The LNG race: The lessons Canada can learn from Australia – by Iain Marlow and Brent Jang (Globe and Mail – April 12, 2014)

The Globe and Mail is Canada’s national newspaper with the second largest broadsheet circulation in the country. It has enormous influence on Canada’s political and business elite.

GLADSTONE, AUSTRALIA and VANCOUVER – On a warm evening in late February, on an island just off the coast of eastern Australia, workers started to pour the concrete roof of an enormous liquefied natural gas tank that stretches 90 metres in circumference and rises 10 storeys into the sky.

The workers toil away late at night to avoid the searing heat of Australia’s late summer sun. They had recently built the roof for an identical adjacent container, both part of the $24.7-billion Australian ($25.5-billion Canadian) joint venture Australia Pacific LNG, owned by American oil and gas firm ConocoPhillips Co., Australian energy giant Origin and China’s state-owned Sinopec.

The two enormous tanks will hold natural gas tapped from the deep coal beds further inland and piped hundreds of kilometres to the LNG export terminal on Queensland’s Curtis Island. Facing the sheltered harbour of the industrial port city of Gladstone, the gas will be chilled until it condenses to one-six-hundredth of its original size – essentially from the size of a beach ball down to a table tennis ball – making it possible to load the liquid gas onto LNG carriers with enormous domed tanks and ship it off to the surging economies of Asia. Read the rest of this entry »

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11th April 2014

Brian Mulroney’s green gall – by Peter Foster (National Post – April 11, 2014)

The National Post is Canada’s second largest national paper.

The former PM’s speech featured a lack of historical context, presumably because it would have been too embarrassing

Brian Mulroney’s speech earlier this week to Canada 2020 – a “progressive” group of PR/government advisory types who pretend to chart the country’s future – presumably involved walking a fine pipeline. Progressives tend not to be great fans of Canada as an “energy superpower,” and no fans at all of Stephen Harper, that notion’s main proponent.

However, energy superpower-dom was essentially what Mr. Mulroney was promoting, so he leavened his recommendations with an attack on Mr. Harper’s leadership on energy and climate issues.

I’m not sure how far that spoonful of vitriol helped the medicine go down, but Mr. Mulroney’s speech, while it contained a great deal of obvious good sense and some inevitable blarney, also featured a lack of historical context, presumably because it would have been too embarrassing.

Mr. Mulroney suggested that Canada lacked a “coherent plan” to harness its vast resources, but shouldn’t the man who dismantled the National Energy Program be a little more skeptical about grand strategies? Read the rest of this entry »

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9th April 2014

“The Next Big Thing” for Canada [Resource Development] – by the Right Honourable Brian Mulroney (Ottawa – April 8, 2014)

CANADA 2020 – http://canada2020.ca/

“Northern Ontario’s “Ring of Fire” is a classic example of our potential and our problem. It has been
described as “the most promising mining opportunity in Canada in a century”. And yet, despite its
unparalleled potential, the project has been hamstrung for years by uncertainties about aboriginal
concerns, by infrastructure limitations and environmental challenges. If properly developed,
significant deposits of copper, zinc, nickel, platinum, vanadium and gold could contribute more
than $25 billion in economic activity and almost $7 billion in government revenues. What is
desperately needed is a concrete action plan and an enhanced spirit of partnership to bring that
promise to life.” Right Honourable Brian Mulroney (Ottawa – April 8, 2014)

“The Next Big Thing for Canada”

Thank you, John, for your most generous remarks.

Let me also congratulate you and your Government for the forthright position you are taking on the lawless takeover of Crimea. The principles and values we cherish in Canada should be the constant rudder for actions we take on foreign policy. History teaches us eloquently what happens when violations of international law and national sovereignty are ignored in the interest of expediency.

As the first G7 country to recognize the newly independent Ukraine in 1991, Canada should be in the vanguard of those safe-guarding its fundamental freedoms and staunchly supporting those seeking to reinforce that independence. Your invitation tonight presents a great challenge : What is “the next big thing” for Canada? Read the rest of this entry »

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9th April 2014

How much longer before the public tires of extremist environmental theatrics? – by Peter Foster (National Post – April 9, 2014)

The National Post is Canada’s second largest national paper.

There are signs that some on the more sensitive members of the green left may already sense the ground shifting beneath them

The enemies of fossil fuels were out in the streets of Bucharest and other Rumanian cities this week protesting Chevron’s plans to move the country towards shale gas self-sufficiency. They bore banners sporting such balanced messages as “Chevron US, you can’t just drop in uninvited and leave death in your wake.” Agence France Presse reported one student declaring “We have seen the effects of fracking on the environment in the U.S. and we do not want the same to happen here.”

But what she meant was that she had “seen” the kind of agitprop peddled by the likes of the movie Gaslands. There has been virtually zero impact from fracking in North America, but it has been established as a “cause” for young rebels, thus the facts must not be allowed to intrude on the social media-fuelled Two Minutes Hate.

The question is how much longer the public is going to be sympathetic to such theatrical displays. The more obvious it becomes that radical environmentalism is effectively the ally of regimes such as Vladimir Putin’s Russia and Nicolas Maduro’s Venezuela, the more tolerance for it is likely to decline.

As it becomes clearer that many of those who want to hold up fracking in Europe, or halt the Keystone XL pipeline, are as much enemies of democracy and prosperity as any strongman or caudillo, their inordinate power must wane. Read the rest of this entry »

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9th April 2014

Why this “greeny” supports pipelines – by Robert McLeman (National Post – April 8, 2014)

The National Post is Canada’s second largest national paper.

Robert McLeman is an associate professor of geography and environmental studies at Wilfrid Laurier University.

As a professor at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ont., I teach introductory environmental studies to hundreds of students each year. I impress upon them the need to use less fossil fuels, to reduce our ecological footprints, and to live with nature and not at its expense.

I train them how to think systematically about environmental problems, and to look for innovative solutions to them, like making urban spaces into oases for pollinators and using backyard rinks to teach people why we should care about global warming.

I practice what I preach: I ride my bike to work in the dead of winter, I buy locally grown foods, and the coffee in my cup is fair trade organic, of course. In short, I am what many of you would call a “greeny.” My politics are less overtly green, but still lean in that direction. (Don’t get me started on how I feel about Revenue Canada auditing the David Suzuki Foundation while our finance minister goads them on.)

It was important to give you the preceding glimpse of where I’m coming from, given the statement I am about to make: I support the building of pipelines. Read the rest of this entry »

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9th April 2014

Brian Mulroney didn’t come to bury Stephen Harper. But he didn’t come to praise him either – by John Ivison (National Post – April 9, 2014)

The National Post is Canada’s second largest national paper.

Brian Mulroney didn’t come to Ottawa to bury Stephen Harper. But he didn’t come to praise him either. The former prime minister was in the capital to speak about the “next big thing” for Canada — making the most of its treasure trove of oil, gas and mineral resources.

To do so requires political leadership, Mr. Mulroney said, and he was pretty clear he doesn’t think Mr. Harper has been providing it.“Prime ministers are not chosen to seek popularity, they are chosen to provide leadership,” he told the audience at the Canada 2020 dinner. “Leadership is the process, not only of foreseeing the need for change but making the case for change. Leadership does not consist of imposing unpopular ideas on the public but of making unpopular ideas acceptable to the nation.”

Mr. Mulroney knows about popularity — or lack of it. “Popularity is bad for you. I try to avoid it like the plague and I’ve been reasonably successful,” he said, back in 1992 when his personal numbers dipped to the lowest ever recorded for a prime minister.

But he was expressing a frustration that is becoming a common refrain from visitors to the capital. Jim Prentice, the former Conservative environment minister, made a similar point recently about the need to get pipelines built, develop alternative markets to the United States and beat back state-level fuel standards designed to keep oilsands oil from the American market. Read the rest of this entry »

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31st March 2014

Energy Seriousness for Europe – Wall Street Editorial (March 27, 2014)

http://online.wsj.com/home-page

Shale gas, not windmills, can free the continent from reliance on Russia. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has at last focused European minds on the need to reduce their dependence on Russian energy. One solution lies right underfoot.

British Prime Minister David Cameron offered what should be an obvious fix: tapping some of the trillions of cubic feet of shale oil and gas that are estimated to be locked under the European surface. Speaking to reporters on Tuesday in the Hague, Mr. Cameron called the invasion of Crimea “something of a wake-up call” for Europe. “Energy independence, using all these different sources of energy, should be a tier one political issue from now on, rather than tier five.”

He should know. U.K.-based Cuadrilla Resources first applied for an exploration permit in Lancashire in 2008, under the previous Labour government. Cuadrilla says it has found 200 trillion cubic feet of gas-in-place in Lancashire’s Bowland Basin alone. With the U.K. consuming roughly 3.4 trillion cubic feet per year, even a fraction of that gas could make a dramatic difference to energy prices and prospects in Europe.

Since 2008, Cuadrilla has conducted some testing and exploration; met with local land-owners in its prospective drilling sites; prepared more applications for planning and health and safety approval than we can list here; and waited out a string of government-commissioned consultations and studies—all of which have so far concluded that hydraulic fracturing poses no serious risk, albeit with myriad recommended rules governing the process. Read the rest of this entry »

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28th March 2014

Raw oil exports offer big bang-for-the-buck for Canada’s economy, report says – by Yadullah Hussain (National Post – March 28, 2014)

The National Post is Canada’s second largest national paper.

Canada’s raw oil exports are no hindrance to “high-paying, value-added jobs,” according to a new report. In fact, labour compensation in oil and gas extraction is the highest in the country, at more than three times the average hourly earnings in the Canadian economy generally, and nearly 50% higher than manufacturing.

Adding value to natural resources — from lumber to crude oil — is often seen as critical to creating high-end jobs in some quarters and some groups often view exports of ‘raw’ materials as a job-killer that robs the economy of taxes and revenues.

“It is completely false… to claim raw energy exports do not represent ‘high-paying, value-added jobs’,” Trevor Tombe, an assistant professor of economics at the University of Calgary and author of the report published last week by the School of Public Policy. “The opposite is true.”

Labour productivity in mining and oil and gas averages more than $200 per hour compared to about $160 per hour for utilities, the second-largest contributor. Manufacturing, often touted as a “value-added” industry, generates about $50 per hour, Statistics Canada data shows. Read the rest of this entry »

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27th March 2014

Oil sands’ clean-tech clash: Jim Balsillie looks to innovate as Tom Steyer sticks with pipeline putdowns – by Claudia Cattaneo (National Post – March 27, 2014)

The National Post is Canada’s second largest national paper.

Green the oil sands or kill the oil sands?

Those are the clashing views of two clean-tech advocates — Jim Balsillie, the Canadian co-founder of Research In Motion, now BlackBerry Ltd.; and Tom Steyer, the U.S. clean-tech promoter, former hedge fund billionaire and leading man in the campaign against the Keystone XL pipeline.

Both were hard at work this week. In a speech in Vancouver Wednesday, Mr. Balsillie, now chairman of Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC), said framing the debate as “for or against the oil sands” is unproductive and will “keep us from moving forward in a meaningful way.”

It’s innovation that will “truly put ourselves on a path towards sustainability,” he said. “Given our current capacities, radically reversing our natural resource policies is tantamount to economic and political suicide.”

Of course it is. The oil sands grew in the past couple of decades to become a Canadian economic stalwart. How? Through innovation that turned oil-soaked sand into a resource that could be sold to an energy-hungry world at an economic cost. Read the rest of this entry »

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26th March 2014

Despite what seems, the U.S. in a much better position than Russia after Putin’s Crimean adventure – by John Ivison (National Post – March 26, 2014)

The National Post is Canada’s second largest national paper.

President Barack Obama threatened Vladimir Putin with “broad-based” sanctions that would target the energy and financial sectors, if Russia continues to gobble up the territory of its neighbours. Mr. Putin, who knows that western Europe relies on his $160-billion in oil and gas exports, was probably not quaking in his boots.

At a press conference in The Hague Tuesday, Mr. Obama was asked if the threat was hollow, coming from an America whose influence is declining. The tone of much of the commentary is that a resurgent Russia is thumbing its nose at an impotent and waning United States.

But, according to one of the world’s foremost energy experts, the map of world energy is being redrawn in front of our eyes — and not to Mr. Putin’s advantage.

Daniel Yergin, the Pulitzer Prize winning author of The Quest – Energy, Security and the Remaking of the Modern World, said the energy revolution in the United States has created a “new dimension” to American foreign policy, while “the bloom is off the rose” of Russian energy production, in part because of the flight of capital in the wake of Mr. Putin’s Crimean adventure. Read the rest of this entry »

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25th March 2014

COLUMN-Cheaper Asian LNG depends on coal, Japan nuclear – by Clyde Russell (Reuters U.K. – March 25, 2014)

http://uk.reuters.com/

(Reuters) – Asian spot liquefied natural gas prices have started their seasonal downturn after the winter peak, but how far they will fall depends on whether coal remains cheap and if Japan restarts some nuclear capacity.

LNG for May delivery was around $16.50 per million British thermal units (mmBtu), down from levels above $20 per mmBtu last month, reached as utilities re-stocked after peak winter demand. Last year, spot LNG LNG-AS fell 28 percent from the peak of $19.67 per mmBtu on Feb. 18 to a low of $14.13 on May 3.

Prices peaked at $20.50 per mmBtu on Feb. 7 this year, and a drop of a similar magnitude would see them fall to about $14.76 around May. However, much will depend on whether Japan does restart some nuclear generation, and whether it and China are willing to use cheaper coal despite the higher pollution.

None of Japan’s reactors, which used to supply about 20 percent of the nation’s electricity, are currently online, although two are now on a shortlist for a final round of safety checks.

Public scepticism remains high three years after the earthquake and tsunami that caused the destruction of the Fukushima plant, which led to the idling of nuclear generation. Read the rest of this entry »

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25th March 2014

Oil sands foes ignore the facts as cancer claims dealt a blow by study – by Claudia Cattaneo (National Post – March 25, 2014)

The National Post is Canada’s second largest national paper.

Much like other claims made by opponents of oil sands development, shocking stories about higher cancer rates among aboriginals living near such projects are falling apart with close scrutiny.

After reviewing the incidence of cancer in the Fort Chipewyan, Alta., aboriginal community between 1992 and 2011, Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. James Talbot, said Monday the overall cancer rate in the community is not significantly higher than elsewhere — 81 cases, compared with 79 that would be expected in the rest of Alberta.

While three types of cancer — cervical cancer (four cases), lung cancer (eight cases) and bile duct cancer (three cases) — are slightly more prevalent, the first two are preventable through vaccination and less smoking, he said. The third is more complicated and has been linked to such risk factors as obesity, diabetes, alcohol, viral hepatitis and family history.

“There isn’t strong evidence for an association between any of these cancers and environmental exposure,” Dr. Talbot told reporters after releasing the report in Edmonton. “The perception is that there is more cancer, and to some extent the perception is correct, but it’s not unique to this community,” he said. Read the rest of this entry »

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21st March 2014

Transparency is vital to relationship between oil industry and aboriginals – by Claudia Cattaneo (National Post – March 21, 2014)

The National Post is Canada’s second largest national paper.

Calgary – As Canada’s aboriginals play a larger role in the development of Canada’s natural resources, the federal government is taking steps to boost the transparency of the payments they receive from developers.

But the move, which would force annual disclosure of payments worth $100,000 or more, is drawing push-back from those affected the most — aboriginals and the oil industry.

Yet greater transparency would promote better practices, increased accountability, set ground rules and inform the public debate around the impacts of resource extraction on Canada’s aboriginal people. The proposal is part of an international effort to put a spotlight on payments made by extractive industries to governments.

But Ottawa’s proposal goes farther. It would require payments made by oil and gas and mining companies to all levels of governments, including aboriginal communities, domestically and abroad, to be disclosed, preferably through public filings to provincial securities regulators. Read the rest of this entry »

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20th March 2014

Tricky talks await new Natural Resources Minister Greg Rickford – by Shawn McCarthy (Globe and Mail – March 20, 2014)

The Globe and Mail is Canada’s national newspaper with the second largest broadsheet circulation in the country. It has enormous influence on Canada’s political and business elite.

OTTAWA — Greg Rickford will need to call on all his experience working with First Nations to resolve some of the toughest roadblocks in the Conservative government’s plan for energy and mining development.

The 46-year-old MP from Kenora, Ont., was appointed by Prime Minister Stephen Harper on Wednesday to replace Joe Oliver as Natural Resources Minister. Awaiting him are brewing resource battles in British Columbia and Ontario that are both economically important and fraught with political risks for the government heading into the next election.

In both cases, the government’s relationship with aboriginal communities and its willingness to help finance their development are key.

Mr. Rickford came into politics promising to try to improve the economy and infrastructure of First Nations. Early in his career, he worked as a nurse and a lawyer in remote communities in northwestern Ontario. Running for election in 2008, one of his central campaign promises was about the need to improve conditions for aboriginal Canadians. Read the rest of this entry »

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