Archive | Oil and Gas Sector-Politics and Image

Shell’s high-tailing is annoying, but there is lots to like about the Canadianization of the oilsands – by Claudia Cattaneo (Financial Post – March 15, 2017)

After a couple of decades of globalization, the oilsands are back to being owned and run by a tight oligopoly of Canadian companies.

The rush of foreign players brought capital, research and development, employment and an international flavour to the industry. But it also pushed up costs because of an escalation of competition, moved control and profits abroad, slowed down decision making and attracted a lot of bad publicity to the deposits by making them the poster child for the international anti-fossil fuel movement.

You won’t find too many complaints in Calgary about the international retreat, which hit a high point last week with Royal Dutch Shell PLC’s oilsands’ selloff. The last time so many oil multinationals backed out of Canada in the 1980s the Canadian oil and gas industry flourished and spawned scores of startups. Continue Reading →

The Permian Basin: An existential threat to Canadian oil as war on cost heats up – by Jesse Snyder (Financial Post – February 21, 2017)

Amid concerns in Canada over the resilience of the U.S. shale industry, one region presents a particularly imposing figure: the Permian Basin of West Texas and southeast New Mexico.

Major producers have continued to refocus their operations around the low-cost Permian as prices remain locked in the low-US$50 range. Oil prices on Friday stood at US$53.42, paring recent gains during the week on fears that U.S. producers continue to pump out higher volumes of crude, in effect neutralizing OPEC’s bid to raise prices by curbing oil supplies. A significant portion of growing U.S. oil production is expected to come from its shale fields, and in particular the Permian Basin.

Production there is expected to reach 2.5 million barrels per day by the end of 2017, up from roughly 2.1 million bpd today, according to estimates by Sam Burwell, an analyst with Canaccord Genuity Inc. based out of Houston. If prices remain approximately at today’s levels, that number could reach three million bpd by the end of 2018—a nearly one million bpd jump in two years. Continue Reading →

Anxiety builds in Alberta on fears oilsands carbon cap policy set to pick favourites – by Claudia Cattaneo (Financial Post – February 3, 2017)

As the Alberta government prepares to deliver the last big piece of its climate leadership plan, a cap on emissions in the oilsands industry, anxiety is building that it will pit company against company, project against project, and could even be based on political favour, according to industry observers.

With the remaining carbon budget expected to be used up in a decade, and more projects vying for a piece of it than will be available, there is concern that companies that supported Rachel Notley’s NDP plan will get preferential treatment, at the expense of those that didn’t.

“People are very concerned that (the changes are) not being designed for the industry as a whole, but the interests of a few,” said Glen Schmidt, president and CEO of oilsands startup Laricina Energy Ltd., said in an interview. “If you are in the cartel and part of the group that has a favoured hearing, you are pushing design elements that favour your interests.” Continue Reading →

Electric Cars Could Cause Big Oil This Much Damage – by Jess Shankleman (Bloomberg News – February 1, 2017)

The growth of battery-powered cars could be as disruptive to the oil market as the OPEC market-share war that triggered the price crash of 2014, potentially wiping hundreds of billions of dollars off the value from fossil fuel producers in the next decade.

About 2 million barrels a day of oil demand could be displaced by electric vehicles by 2025, equivalent in size to the oversupply that triggered the biggest oil industry downturn in a generation over the past three years, according to research from Imperial College London and the Carbon Tracker Initiative, a think tank, published Thursday.

A similar 10 percent loss of market share caused the collapse of the U.S. coal mining industry and wiped more than a 100 billion euros ($108 billion) off the value of European utilities from 2008 to 2013, the report said. Continue Reading →

Why is Alberta’s economy the only one the Trudeau Liberals are plotting to ‘phase out’? – by Kevin Libin (Financial Post – January 31, 2017)

Which Canadian leader will finally lay out a national plan to phase out Ontario’s auto industry? Obviously, with the auto sector accounting for half-a-million jobs in Canada, at least 1,200 Ontario parts and equipment suppliers, and about 20 per cent of Ontario’s GDP and 12 per cent of Canada’s, it’s not something we can phase out tomorrow, naturally.

But the more than two-million vehicles produced in Ontario annually burn billions of litres of carbon-heavy gasoline every year, emitting tens of millions of tonnes of carbon dioxide. This cannot go on.

Even if we could make the entire sector switch, against sensible economics, to hybrids and electric vehicles (Ontario’s factories currently only produce one of each of those), the sheer volume of carbon emissions connected to mining the metals and producing the steel, rubber and plastics for these alternate vehicles would often equal the CO2 levels spewed by the gasoline vehicles over their lifetime. Continue Reading →

Time to step up: resource sectors need Canada’s media more than ever – by Bill Whitelaw ( – January 28, 2017)

Click here for policy document, The Shattered Mirror:

In this age of thought-leadership reports and white paper discussions that flutter around our lives like so much wedding confetti, there’s one document out there that deserves immediate attention – particularly in Canada’s resource sectors.

For those sectors read: energy, mining, forestry and agriculture – the industries that are the supporting vertebrae of Canada’s economic backbone. The sectors everybody increasingly seems to want to despise.

Every senior management team and board of directors in companies that derive their livelihoods from those various sectors should make this particular report required strategic reading. It will give them profound insights into what happens when a business model collapses dramatically in a way that directly impacts their own businesses, especially in terms of public perception. Continue Reading →

How Russia sold its oil jewel Rosneft without saying whether Glencore bought it (Australian Financial Review/Reuters – January 26, 2017)

More than a month after Russia announced one of its biggest privatisations since the 1990s, selling a 19.5 per cent stake in its giant oil company Rosneft, it still isn’t possible to determine from public records the full identities of those who bought it.

The stake was sold for €10.2 billion to a Singapore investment vehicle that Rosneft said was a 50/50 joint venture between Qatar and the Swiss oil trading firm Glencore.

Unveiling the deal at a televised meeting with Rosneft’s boss Igor Sechin on December 7, President Vladimir Putin called it a sign of international faith in Russia, despite US and EU financial sanctions on Russian firms including Rosneft. Continue Reading →

As Ottawa and Alberta dither, Trump embraces the oilsands with Keystone XL nod – by Claudia Cattaneo (Financial Post – January 25, 2017)

U.S. President Donald Trump delivered on his promise to approve the Keystone XL pipeline, signing an executive order Tuesday to advance its construction and giving Canada’s battered oilsands industry his support.

“We are going to renegotiate some of the terms” of the Keystone XL project, Trump said to reporters. “And if they like (them) we will see if we can get that pipeline built – a lot of jobs, 28,000 jobs, great construction jobs.”

He took the same action on the Dakota Access pipeline project, saying that it would be “subject to terms and conditions negotiated by us.” He decreed that American steel should be used for pipelines built in the United States. Continue Reading →

Trump signs orders to advance controversial Keystone XL, Dakota Access oil pipelines – by Julie Pace (Associated Press/Toronto Star – January 24, 2017)

WASHINGTON—U.S. President Donald Trump has signed executive actions to advance the construction of the Keystone XL and Dakota Access oil pipelines. The move is expected to be cheered by Republicans and some union groups who backed the projects.

Former President Barack Obama stopped the proposed Keystone XL pipeline in late 2015, declaring it would have undercut U.S. efforts to clinch a global climate change deal that was a centerpiece of his environmental legacy.

The pipeline would have carried almost one-quarter of Canada’s oil exports to U.S. refineries in the Gulf Coast. The U.S. government needed to approve the pipeline because it crossed the border. Continue Reading →

On oil sands, ignore Jane Fonda’s foolery, listen to Trudeau’s truth – by Gary Mason (Globe and Mail – January 19, 2017)

If you ever want an Albertan mad at you, mention something about the oil sands they don’t like. Last week, many in the province were setting their hair on fire over a visit by movie-star activist Jane Fonda and later comments by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau about Alberta’s energy future.

I get the animus Ms. Fonda’s visit incited. Albertans are tired of jet-setting do-gooders flying in from their L.A. manses, or whichever homes in whichever countries they might be coming from, to do passovers of the oil sands and proclaim how awful it all is.

Before Ms. Fonda, it was the actor Leonardo DiCaprio. Before Mr. DiCaprio, it was the singer Neil Young. Before Mr. Young, it was the director James Cameron. The script is always the same: Meet with environmental activists and First Nations leaders and decry the violation of the Earth they have witnessed. Continue Reading →

GUEST COMMENT: The petroleum and mining sectors should put their heads together for a good cause: their future – by Bill Whitelaw (Canadian Mining Journal – January 17, 2017)

It’s interesting to watch two sectors that should be joined at the hip in defense of their joint futures and wonder why they’re not; at least not in any publicly or politically discernible way.

The beauty of my day job is this: I am privileged to be involved with two teams that provide essential information insights to Canada’s two most important resource sectors: energy and mining. The men and women associated with venerable business brands such as Oilweek, The Daily Oil Bulletin, The Northern Miner and Canadian Mining Journal provide context, analysis and intelligence insights to the diverse stakeholders that comprise the “energy” and “mining” sectors.

Collectively, the brands represent more than three centuries of sectoral service and have been binding tools through the diverse and complex (and often brutal) cycles through which these industries pass. The teams also provide research and analysis services, including insights into external forces that impact the sectors; thus the brands also afford a perspective on the things which have put energy and mining under fire. Continue Reading →

‘It’s blindsided everybody’: New U.S. border tax could shut out Canadian oil – by Claudia Cattaneo (Financial Post – January 18, 2017)

Canadian oil and gas producers happy to see the end of the Obama era are quickly coming to the realization that the imminent Trump presidency could be even more challenging if he moves forward with the adoption of a border adjustment tax.

While other Canadian sectors have been vocal in condemning the proposal, “no sector … will be more affected than petroleum,” according to Colorado-based energy expert Philip Verleger, who has been studying the recommended U.S. tax code changes since last summer.

Verleger, principal of consultancy PKVerleger LLC, believes Canadian exporters of oil and oil products are in for a nasty surprise. “Bluntly speaking, for oil the law’s passage is pure mercantilism. Exporters from Mexico, Canada, and the rest of the world could be shut out,” Verleger writes this week in a report to clients. “As Woody Allen would say, ‘Sorry, suckers’.” Continue Reading →

Indigenous reconciliation will never flow from a pipeline – by Jane Fonda (Globe and Mail – January 18, 2017)

I’ve been accused of parroting half-truths and misinformation: well, here are the hard truths that brought me to Alberta in the first place.

For centuries, first nations peoples have been telling non-indigenous people how to live in relationship to the land rather than to see the land and its natural resources as commodities to be exploited. We did not listen and now, here we are, on the edge of a climate cliff.

Like millions of people, I believe we are living an existential crisis, one that humankind has never faced before: If we continue down the current road of fossil fuel dependency, if we expand the problem, climate science is telling us we will soon reach a point of no return. Continue Reading →

Jane Fonda comes to Alberta to inform them that oil is bad and they should get other jobs – by Tristin Hopper (National Post – January 12, 2017)

Fort McMurrayites might have assumed the celebrity visits would stop after the city was swept first by recession, and then by wildfire. Or when the provincial government introduced a carbon tax and started phasing out coal.

And surely, with Donald Trump in the White House, even the oiliest corner of Canada would shift to the activist back burner. But no; here comes Jane Fonda.

“We don’t need new pipelines,” she told a Wednesday press conference at the University of Alberta where she also dismissed Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as a “good-looking Liberal” who couldn’t be trusted. Continue Reading →

‘We don’t give a damn’: Anti-oil activists step up opposition as honeymoon with Trudeau ends – by Claudia Cattaneo (Financial Post – January 11, 2017)

On Tuesday, Jane Fonda was in the oilsands to agitate against new pipelines supported by Alberta’s left-leaning NDP government and approved by Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau; more aboriginal lawsuits were flying in Vancouver over Trudeau’s approval of the Petronas LNG project; and in Toronto, environmental activists were scoffing at his efforts to reform the National Energy Board.

Clearly, the honeymoon is over between opponents of oil and gas projects and Canadian governments that hoped to win their approval by cranking up environmental regulations and carbon costs, even at the expense of the economy.

So much for Canada’s ambitious climate leadership program, sold to Canadians on the promise that it would satisfy critics and re-habilitate Canada’s reputation as a responsible energy producer.

Which begs the question: If there is no gain for the pain, why bother? Continue Reading →