Archive | Oil and Gas Sector-Politics and Image

Peter Munk to donate $1-million to Fort McMurray relief effort – by Kathryn Blaze Baum and Daniel LeBlanc (Globe and Mail – May 6, 2016)

TORONTO and OTTAWA — Mining magnate Peter Munk is donating $1-million to the Canadian Red Cross to help the thousands of people who have been displaced by the wildfires in the Fort McMurray area – a crisis that the philanthropist said reminds him of his own past as a refugee and marks an opportunity for Canadians to unite.

The Peter and Melanie Munk Charitable Foundation will on Friday announce the pledge, which will build on the roughly $11-million in donations that have flowed to the Red Cross fund dedicated to supporting those affected by the fire. The federal government announced Thursday that it will match all charitable donations to the organization, including those that had already been made.

Jean-Philippe Tizi, vice-president of emergency management at the Red Cross, said the money will be used to meet the immediate physical and psychological needs of affected citizens. But he added that the donations will also be used to help people rebuild their lives. “It’s going to take four or five years, but we’ll be there as long as it takes,” he said.

In an interview with The Globe and Mail, Mr. Munk said the footage of residents fleeing a burning city conjured thoughts of his own parents escaping a besieged Budapest during the Second World War. Continue Reading →

Fort McMurray fires shut down even more oilsands facilities, knock one million – by Claudia Cattaneo and Geoffrey Morgan (Financial Post – May 6, 2016)

CALGARY — The shut down of energy facilities accelerated Thursday, taking off line about one million barrels — close to 40 per cent — of Alberta’s daily oilsands production, as a wildfire that started near Fort McMurray spread south to new producing areas. Meanwhile, oil companies poured their resources into the firefighting effort — from sheltering evacuees to helping with medical emergencies.

Overnight Wednesday, the raging fire forced the evacuation of smaller communities south of Fort McMurray, where many evacuees fleeing the flames this week had taken shelter. They joined residents of Fort McMurray, who were ordered to leave their homes earlier in the week.

“Based on press releases and our discussions with producers, the fires have impacted oilsands production by an estimated 0.9 to 1 million b/d — disproportionately weighted towards synthetic crude oil,” Greg Pardy, co-head of global energy research at RBC Dominion Securities Inc., said in a report. Continue Reading →

Fort McMurray is intertwined with all of nature’s risks and glory – by Mark Milke (Globe and Mail – May 5, 2016)

he tragic wildfires that have engulfed parts of Fort McMurray, Alta., home of Canada’s largest oil extraction mines and accompanying facilities, is a reminder that nature ultimately and always has her way.

Think of the 1998 ice storms in Quebec, the 2003 forest fires in Kelowna, the 2013 floods in Calgary, or what’s now raging at Fort McMurray. All such tragedies send a signal that the raw nature we like to enjoy – the grand expanses, the hikes, the canoeing, the fishing and all the rest – is ultimately an uncontrollable Leviathan that we can only partly restrain.

Nature’s current effect on Fort McMurray should also remind us how intimately Canadians are connected to this unpredictability. This includes many ways that have long benefited us, but that many of us urban dwellers forget. Continue Reading →

New evacuations around fire-struck Fort McMurray in energy heartland – by Rod Nickel (Reuters U.S. – May 5, 2016)

ANZAC, ALBERTA – A massive wildfire near Fort McMurray in Alberta, Canada, that has grown to five times its initial size has spread south, forcing more evacuations on Thursday after 88,000 people fled the city in the nation’s energy heartland.

The uncontrolled fire, which has consumed swathes of the city, has shut oil production in the area, driving up global oil prices and affecting projects and pipelines across the heavily forested region. Map of the Fort McMurray fire – (

Officials issued mandatory evacuation orders for the Anzac, Gregoire Lake Estates and Fort McMurray First Nation communities, located about 50 km (31 miles) south of the battered city of Fort McMurray, which was evacuated Tuesday. Continue Reading →

First Nations must pursue own interests in resource projects – by Doug Cuthand (Saskatoon StarPhoenix – April 30, 2016)

Back in the 1970s and ’80s there was opposition to developing uranium mines
in Northern Saskatchewan. Our people were used as an ally by the opponents,
but in the end the mines were developed. Northern people expressed their
concerns for the environment, but they also saw the value of employment
and business opportunities.

The uranium industry became an economic engine, creating jobs and contract
opportunities for our people. Today there are indigenous companies that
provide camp catering, trucking, security and other spinoff services.

Pipeline building is once again in the news, and the pros and the cons are lining up. Our people once again are somewhere in the middle, seen either as an ally or an impediment.

First Nations have been left out of resource development instead of being treated as stakeholders. The same people who ignore our potential also are the ones to complain about indigenous poverty and suggest that we move away from traditional communities. Meanwhile, the environmentalists and anti-developers co-opt our people as allies in order to justify their cause. Continue Reading →

Why Canada Needs Both Windmills And Pipelines – by Katrina Marsh (Huffington Post – April 28, 2016)

“The choice between pipelines and wind turbines is a false one. We need both to reach our goal.” Prime Minister Trudeau’s comment — spoken just before last March’s First Ministers’ meeting on climate change — has echoed through ministers’ speeches and media interviews ever since. Mr. Trudeau and his cabinet are walking a fine line between the need to control greenhouse gas emissions on the one hand and the need for energy pipelines on the other.

Some people see a contradiction in this balancing act. The authors of the Leap Manifesto argue that growth in renewable energy technologies mean that there is “no longer an excuse for building new infrastructure projects that lock us into increased extraction decades into the future.”

Yet the truth is that Canadians will continue to rely on fossil fuels even as we develop alternatives. This is not an ideological position to be argued over, but a fact that must be recognized. Continue Reading →

Curbing carbon emissions will cost the economy, but not changing ‘could be substantial,’ PBO says -by Yadullah Hussain (Financial Post – April 22, 2016)

Curbing carbon emissions would cost Canada between one and three per cent in economic growth by 2030, but the price of leaving greenhouse gas emissions unchecked “could be substantial,” Parliamentary Budget Officer said Thursday.

The federal government and a number of provinces have introduced a slew of measures to curb emissions, but they will not be enough, the PBO said in a report.

“Those measures, while substantial, are unlikely to achieve the target on their own. Deeper reductions will be needed,” the independent parliamentary body noted.The report comes as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is set to sign the Paris climate change agreement in New York on Friday, along with leaders of 130 other nations. Continue Reading →

China reveals plans to ship cargo across Canada’s Northwest Passage – by Nathan Vanderklippe (Globe and Mail – April 21, 2016)

BEIJING — The Chinese government has published a lengthy Northwest Passage shipping guidebook that lays the foundation for cargo vessels to sail across the top of Canada.

Spanning 365 pages of charts and detailed information on sea ice and weather, the Chinese-language Arctic Navigation Guide (Northwest Passage) was compiled by ocean and shipping experts as a way to help the country’s mariners plan voyages through a waterway seen as a valuable shortcut between China and North America.

“There will be ships with Chinese flags sailing through this route in the future,” Liu Pengfei, a spokesman for China’s Maritime Safety Administration, which published the book, told reporters Tuesday. “Once this route is commonly used, it will directly change global maritime transportation and have a profound influence on international trade, the world economy, capital flow and resource exploitation.” Continue Reading →

Let’s stop pretending ‘social licence’ is an actual thing – by Ross McKitrick (Financial Post – April 21, 2016)

Margaret Thatcher famously said “There is no such thing as society.” Today she might have added the corollary that “There is no such thing as social licence.” There is such a thing as compliance with regulations established by a duly constituted authority.

And there is such a thing as acceptance in a competitive market by customers who are willing to pay for the product. And yet, well-intentioned people have come to think more is needed, namely approval from the self-appointed activists at the Social Licence Bureau. And thus has begun one of the costliest fool’s errands of modern times.

Alberta’s NDP government found itself goaded into an international snipe hunt for a social licence to operate its oil industry and get the product to market. Bear in mind that the industry complies with all available social, economic and environmental regulations, and that its product is desired by consumers across Canada and around the world. Yet Premier Notley became convinced that Alberta’s oil still lacked legitimacy because it was missing a so-called social licence. Continue Reading →

Brian Mulroney blasts Justin Trudeau’s handling of pipelines – by John Ivison (National Post – April 20, 2016)

Former prime minister Brian Mulroney says the regulatory process governing pipeline approval is being “gamed” by people who want to disrupt any oilsands development, and is urging Justin Trudeau to spearhead a “concerted and coherent strategy” to build energy infrastructure.

Mulroney told an audience at a private event held Tuesday by the Business Council of Canada that the federal government must co-ordinate with provinces and First Nations to move pipelines forward “in the national interest.”

Trudeau has said he sees his role as a “responsible referee” on energy projects, rather than a “cheerleader.” But Mulroney said the “vital initiative” must be led by the Prime Minister himself. Continue Reading →

[Canada Politics] The Lewis family’s Leap project could prove discomfiting to the NDP – by Kelly McParland (National Post – April 14, 2016)

“The economic decline in Alberta and the rising unemployment its people
face should be addressed in ways other than implying that Alberta
resources are the enemy,” says Laxer. “The document suggests that most
new jobs will be created in a host of caregiving sectors. That may sound
good if you live in the Annex. But what does it say to miners in Sudbury,
steelworkers, autoworkers, workers in the energy sector in Alberta etc.?”

It was a bit odd watching Stephen Lewis deliver his barnburner of a speech to a hooting crowd of New Democrats in Edmonton on the weekend, lending his considerable prestige to the Leap manifesto.

The manifesto, he conceded, “is a radical document, of that there is no dispute.” Nonetheless, he urged it “become a centerpiece of constituency debate over the next couple of years.”

Why? Because “an intense exchange of views along with the issues raised in the manifesto can only be helpful. What kind of a party are we if we would run from an internal controversy when you seek a redefinition of who we are and where we are headed.” Continue Reading →

Saudi-Iran impasse derails Doha oil output deal – by Jeffrey Jones (Globe and Mail – April 18, 2016)

CALGARY — Major oil-producing countries failed on Sunday to reach an agreement on limiting output, renewing fears that the crude-price collapse that has heaped pain on economies from the Middle East to Canada will persist.

Officials from 16 countries, led by Saudi Arabia and Russia, met in Doha, Qatar, in hopes of co-ordinating an effort to freeze output at January levels as a way to support prices. Crude slumped well below $30 (U.S.) a barrel early this year from more than $100 in mid-2014.

As feared, the insurmountable hurdle proved to be Iran, which had resisted any limits and skipped the meeting. The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries member is ramping up production to resume shipments abroad following the end of years of international sanctions. Continue Reading →

Trudeau convinced that pipeline strategy must be top priority – by John Ivison (National Post – April 12, 2016)

Justin Trudeau has told his senior lieutenants to draw up plans to make the Energy East pipeline and the Trans Mountain expansion in British Columbia a reality.

The prime minister has been convinced by his finance minister, Bill Morneau, and other influential voices around the cabinet table that the pipelines have to be built to achieve the ambitious economic growth targets his government has set. But the problem for the Liberals is that this conviction has to be conveyed subtly to a public that has decidedly mixed views on oilsands expansion and pipelines.

The prime minister has never been an advocate of a Canadian future without oil. He supported the Keystone XL pipeline, and explicitly stated that no country that found 170 billion barrels of oil would leave it in the ground. Continue Reading →

Opec’s days as economic force are ‘over’ – by Kiran Stacey and Neil Hume (Financial Times – April 10, 2016)

Opec’s economic power is broken, says the unofficial historian of the oil industry, who has argued that the association of oil exporting countries has become irretrievably divided and is unable to reverse the current slump in crude prices.

Daniel Yergin, whose Pulitzer-prize winning book The Prize provides a comprehensive history of oil and power, said he believes the association’s economic prowess has been undone by its inability to agree on how to stop the oil crisis.

In an interview with the Financial Times, Mr Yergin, who is also vice-chairman of data provider IHS, said the recent disagreements among Opec members have revealed how weak the organisation now is. Mr Yergin said: “The era of Opec as a decisive force in the world economy is over. It is clearly a very divided organisation.” Continue Reading →

Notley demands a ‘yes’ on pipeline for Alberta oil as province struggles with deficit – by Claudia Cattaneo (Financial Post – April 8, 2016)

CALGARY — Alberta Premier Rachel Notley, once a reluctant defender of the oilpatch, now says she won’t take no for an answer on getting a bitumen pipeline to tidewater.

The NDP premier made the pledge in a televised speech to Albertans on Thursday evening, a week before presenting a budget that will come with a $10-billion-plus deficit and help for the needy as the once oil-rich province struggles with a price shock that has destroyed government revenue, investment and jobs.

“We can’t continue to support Canada’s economy, unless Canada supports us,” she said. “That means one thing: building a modern and carefully regulated pipeline to tidewater,” she said. “I can promise you this: I won’t let up. We must get to ‘yes’ on a pipeline.” Continue Reading →