Archive | Oil and Gas Sector-Politics and Image

Route for Keystone XL approved, clearing way for Alberta oil – by Shawn McCarthy and Jeff Lewis (Globe and Mail – November 21, 2017)

Nebraska has approved an alternative route for TransCanada Corp.’s $8-billion (U.S.) Keystone XL pipeline, a ruling that removes a key hurdle in the decade long-quest to link Alberta’s oil sands to U.S. refineries on the Gulf Coast – but will create more uncertainty for the controversial project.

The Monday ruling is far from an unqualified victory and would add costs and further delays to the project. Still, the decision was immediately welcomed by the Alberta-based oil industry and governments in Edmonton and Ottawa.

The 3-2 decision is likely to face appeals by landowners and environmentalists, who contend the ruling approves a route with little actual study and invalidates the presidential permit issued by U.S. President Donald Trump last March that was based on the company’s preferred route. Continue Reading →

U.S. ditches transparency rules for resource companies as it courts Saudi oil giant Aramco – by Ashley Renders (Financial Post – November 9, 2017)

The United States has withdrawn from an anti-corruption initiative that aims to show how much money is exchanged between governments and companies for access to natural resources, setting it apart from Canada and other countries that have taken steps to improve transparency in the oil, gas and mining sectors.

It’s a move that could make the U.S. more attractive to large extractive companies that prefer to keep their finances away from the public eye—including Saudi Aramco, one of the most secretive oil companies in the world.

The U.S. began the long process of becoming a member of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), an international standard that requires governments to report key information about the extractive sector, in 2011. Continue Reading →

Which industry best creates wealth and reduces poverty in Canada? Resources (as usual) – by Mark Milke (Financial Post – October 24, 2017)

With the recent cancellation of TransCanada’s Energy East pipeline — after the company spent $1 billion in attempts to jump through ever-changing regulatory and political hoops — it is time to remind ourselves as Canadians where much of our country’s recent economic uptick originated. Answer: In resource exploration and extraction.

This was illustrated again recently, just before the TransCanada announcement, with Statistics Canada’s recent release of key census data. The data revealed how median Canadian household income rose to $70,336 by 2015, up almost $6,900 from $63,457 in 2005 or nearly 11 per cent.

The provincial breakdowns are even more revealing than the national figure. Median income went up by $20,161 in Saskatchewan (37 per cent), $18,151 in Alberta (20 per cent) and $15,068 in Newfoundland and Labrador (29 per cent). Continue Reading →

First Nations leaders break with Ottawa on environmental policy – by Shawn McCarthy (Globe and Mail – October 20, 2017)

First Nations leaders have halted their collaboration with Liberal government on developing environmental legislation, arguing Ottawa is failing to make good on its vaunted commitments to work in partnership with Indigenous people.

In a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, three members of the Assembly of First Nations executive committee said they were promised that they would be full partners in crafting the rules under which major mining, oil and gas and pipeline projects would be assessed.

They complained they are being left out of key decisions on the proposed legislation. The letter, dated Oct. 16, was provided to The Globe and Mail on Thursday. Continue Reading →

A window into Canadian history through the lens of commodity booms – by Colby Cosh (National Post – October 12, 2017)

To the layman it’s not the most inspiring title: “A Long-run Version of the Bank of Canada Commodity Price Index, 1870 to 2015.” But the name of this Statistics Canada research paper, published Wednesday, will warm the hearts of Canadian economists like a beloved old melody.

In Canada, we are a little used to being beggared by StatCan, which, it must be said, is obviously a treasure. We do not have access to the cornucopia of very long economic time series that Americans enjoy, and our national statistics agency is fussy about occasionally re-engineering the data series it creates, which then have to be knit together by anyone wanting a historical perspective.

Being a relatively small country also makes regional and local breakdowns of aggregate data more difficult. Cells in a table that contain counts of people or things can end up too small to be of much use, and may even have to be suppressed to protect personal anonymity. Continue Reading →

Canada’s Catalonia? Careful Ottawa, western alienation is beginning to rear its head again – by Jack Mintz (Financial Post – October 13, 2017)

There is a growing sense in western Canada that the federal government’s professed support for resource provinces is hollow

It was not at all helpful that the less-than-affable Montreal mayor, Denis Coderre, declared it a “victory for Canada” when TransCanada withdrew its licence application for Energy East, a pipeline project that actually would have provided market-diversification benefits to the national economy.

It would be no different than if the mayor of, say, Winnipeg — home to a Boeing plant — declared it a Canadian victory after the U.S. Commerce Department slapped on two import duties on Quebec’s heavily subsidized Bombardier planes. Continue Reading →

I helped plan Energy East, and I know the government’s excuses are bunk – by Dennis McConaghy (Financial Post – October 12, 2017)

Dennis McConaghy was formerly the executive vice-president of pipeline strategy and development at TransCanada Pipelines.

I was a senior officer of TransCanada Pipelines when the Energy East project was conceived and developed commercially, up to the mid-summer of 2014 when I retired (I continue to be a shareholder but obviously I am no longer a company insider).

Two things are clear to me. One: the termination of the Energy East project is a major economic loss for Canada, removing an important option for providing market access for growing production from Canada’s oil sands resource, including direct access to eastern Canadian crude oil markets.

Two: The Trudeau government should be stepping up to accept some real culpability for contributing to TransCanada’s decision to abandon the project, instead of resorting to various sophistries and distortions. The real lessons to be learned from the Energy East termination cannot be ignored if this country is to ever have a regulatory and public-policy regime conducive for private capital to take on the risks of major hydrocarbon infrastructure. Continue Reading →

[Catholic Groups Divest] You don’t need hydrocarbons for performance: behind the divestment push – by Barry Critchly (Financial Post – October 10, 2017)

It’s been described as one of the biggest decisions in the short history of fossil free divestment. We are referring to this week’s decision by forty Roman Catholic groups around the world — from organizations in Africa, Australia, Europe, South America and the U.S. as well a number of international bodies — to shun investing in fossil fuels.

While the exact amount of assets that will be affected was not disclosed, the decision, taken by the Global Catholic Climate Movement (GCCM) was made to demonstrate that the 40 groups were ruling out future investments while urging others to follow suit.

The decision, the GCCM said, was “based on shared value of environmental protection and financial wisdom of preparing for a carbon-neutral economy.” Wayne Wachell, chief executive at Vancouver-based Genus Capital Management, one of the country’s first fossil free investment management firms, more than welcomed the news. Continue Reading →

The toxic politics of pipelines just got even worse – by Margaret Wente (Globe and Mail – October 10, 2017)

Depending on who you listen to, the demise of Energy East – the pipeline that would have shipped western crude oil to eastern Canada – is either a triumph or a disaster.

For politicians in Quebec and environmental groups across the country, it’s a triumph. “An enormous victory,” crowed Denis Coderre, the mayor of Montreal, who claims that he has saved his province from the certain ravages of environmental defilement. (He neglected to mention that Montreal has dumped megalitres of raw sewage into the St. Lawrence River, but never mind that now.)

For Alberta, it’s a disaster – yet more proof that major energy projects just can’t get done any more. It’s even more than that. It’s a double disaster for Premier Rachel Notley, whose opponents are jeering that her plan to buy a social licence with carbon taxes is, so far, an utter failure. But it’s manna for Jason Kenney, who could well be her successor. He thinks Alberta should strike back by stopping equalization payments to Quebec. Continue Reading →

Liberals divide country with unflappable Bombardier support, disregard for energy – by Kelly McParland (National Post – October 7, 2017)

TransCanada’s Energy East announcement will only cement the conviction that one Trudeau is the same as another Trudeau

TransCanada’s decision to abandon its Energy East pipeline proposal sends two negative messages, both brimming with potential for damage.

One is to the international community, signalling that — whatever Ottawa may claim — Canada is not a welcoming place for energy investment. The most ludicrous assertion offered in the wake of TransCanada’s announcement was Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr’s claim that it was solely a “business decision” that had nothing to do with the government.

Yes, the decision was made on a business basis, but in the face of a regulatory and approval process put in place by a government more devoted to favoured voting groups than to the development and expansion of one of Canada’s most crucial economic interests. Continue Reading →

Resource firms face tougher rules if provincial action on threatened caribou deemed lacking – by Shawn McCarthy (Globe and Mail – October 10, 2017)

The federal government is warning it will impose tougher rules for resource companies working in the boreal forest unless provinces act to protect endangered caribou.

Companies involved in oil and gas, mining and forestry are facing a call from scientists and environmental groups that many threatened boreal caribou herds face extinction unless urgent action is taken to protect and restore habitat.

Industry officials, for their part, warn that regulatory uncertainty and the potential for restrictive regulations is jeopardizing investment and threatening the significant job losses in Northern and rural communities. Continue Reading →

Energy East’s demise is Canada’s Peak Oil Divide moment – by Diane Francis (Financial Post – October 10, 2017)

“The fact is that Canada’s only current world-class innovation and investment
clusters are oil and mining, both of which are under attack by politicians
at all levels. These sectors provide the highest salaries in the country
because they are world-class and their workers are high-tech trained in
science, engineering, technology, and IT.”

Canadian leaders cannot despise oil and pipelines and maintain high living standards. Without the goose, there will be no golden eggs. It’s that simple.

This week’s cancellation of another oil pipeline – from Alberta to New Brunswick – should not be a cause for celebration as it is in some minds. It represents Canada’s Peak Oil Divide moment as well as a tipping point in terms of the country’s future prosperity. Without new markets, Canada’s engine of economic growth will slow and never regain momentum.

It’s a known fact that the world lumbers toward a fossil-free future, due to exponential technologies such as solar. But to rush toward that as a nation – without anything to replace it – is foolish. Only countries without fossil fuels are well-advised to do this. Not Canada. Continue Reading →

Canada needs a frank discussion about resources – by Ken Hughes (Globe and Mail – October 6, 2017)

Ken Hughes is a former Alberta minister of energy, the founding chair of Alberta Health Services, and was recognized as an Honourary Chief within the Blackfoot Confederacy

As Canadians, let’s be honest with each other. After TransCanada announced Thursday that the Energy East Pipeline is dead, we need – now more than ever – to honestly address this fundamental question: How does Canada work? We can’t build a country without building something. We will not maintain our standard of living if we continue to lose our edge.

First, the wealth of a country is created by the sweat, toil and creativity of Canadians. They turn assets into something of value that can be sold to create wealth. Sometimes these are assets such as oil, natural gas or lumber. Sometimes these are virtual assets, such as insurance, banking or software. Success leads to taxes paid to local, provincial and federal governments.

Taxes are used by governments to pay for our much valued, quality public services: health care, education, roads, etc. Taxes only get paid when there is successful enterprise first. Taxes are paid by employed Canadians and by successful companies. Period. Continue Reading →

No Plan B for Liberals on pipelines – by Claudia Cattaneo (Financial Post – October 6, 2017)

The cancellation of Energy East is the last of the big, nation-building pipeline decisions that resulted from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s forced transition to greener energy.

It’s another area of the economy that Ottawa has badly mishandled. It’s based on an energy model for Canada that is a lousy fit for its geology, history, economy, and the competencies and desires of its people, particularly in Western Canada. It’s the reason Calgary’s economy is dead when it should be humming with new activity amid rebounding oil prices, and that unemployment in Alberta is so high it’s a national political embarrassment.

Energy East died Thursday after Ottawa expanded its regulatory review to include climate change impacts of the whole upstream and downstream oil industry. Proponent TransCanada Corp. said it took the decision after “a careful review of changed circumstances.” It expects to take an estimated $1 billion after-tax non-cash charge in its fourth quarter results. The decision was made after a five-year application process. Continue Reading →

Economic reality killed the Energy East pipe dream — and that’s good – by Terence Corcoran (Financial Post – October 6, 2017)

Dreams and fantasies die hard, especially ones that have little or no basis in reality. Many of us may imagine ourselves as sports stars or corporate CEOs or Nobel scientists, but we all must come to terms with who we really are and the circumstances of our lives. Few of us are the next Jose Bautista or tomorrow’s Angelina Jolie.

So it is with nations whose people must at times learn that their national destiny is not as they once imagined. Canada is one such nation and Energy East is one of those times.

TransCanada Corporation’s decision to terminate the Energy East pipeline to ship oil from Alberta to the East coast and beyond means that Canada must now seriously begin to give up on what may always have been an impossible dream. Canada is not and may never become a global energy superpower. Continue Reading →