Archive | Oil and Gas Sector-Politics and Image

Fort McKay Chief Jim Boucher explores building the first aboriginal oilsands project: ‘Timing is right’ – by Claudia Cattaneo (Financial Post – June 27, 2016)

Under the guidance of Chief Jim Boucher over the last three decades, Alberta’s Fort McKay First Nation grew into an oilsands services powerhouse and one of Canada’s most enterprising aboriginal communities. The 800-member band located 65 kilometres north of Fort McMurray has zero unemployment, average household income of $120,000 a year, a $50 million trust fund and owns companies that generated $2.36 billion in revenue in the last five years.

Now it’s dusting off plans to develop its own oilsands project to take advantage of low construction costs in the region, the result of collapsing investment due to the oil-price downturn.

It’s far from a sure thing, as the Fort McKay could still decide to keep the 2.5 billion barrels of oil under their lands undeveloped until technologies evolve to minimize environmental impacts, but the option is being explored, Boucher said in an interview in Calgary. Continue Reading →

First Nations deeply involved in resource development: Indian Resource Council – by Bob Weber (Global News – JUne 21, 2016)

The Canadian Press – Canada’s First Nations have a stake worth hundreds of millions of dollars in resource industry development and are likely to call more of the industry’s shots in the future, concludes a research paper.

“There is not going to be a very substantial expansion of the resource sector in Canada without full partnerships with indigenous Canadians,” said Ken Coates of the University of Saskatchewan.

Coates wrote the report for the Indian Resource Council, an aboriginal group that represents First Nations oil and gas producers. Coates notes that aboriginal opinion on new energy, pipeline and mineral projects reflects the same splits in the rest of Canada.  Continue Reading →

Ottawa to launch full review of environmental assessment process – by shawn McCarthy (Globe and Mail – June 21, 2016)

The Liberal government is undertaking a wholesale review of the environmental rules for approving major resource projects, though the current reviews of controversial pipeline proposals will proceed under the existing regime.

The federal announcement came as the City of Vancouver launched a court challenge against the National Energy Board’s review of Kinder Morgan Inc.’s proposed $6.7-billion expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline to nearby Burnaby, B.C.

In a statement, Mayor Gregor Robertson called the NEB review “flawed and biased,” as city lawyers argued the regulatory panel failed to adequately consult communities along the pipeline’s path and ignored scientific evidence. Continue Reading →

Justin Trudeau’s pipelines predicament: ‘Decisions always about trade-offs’ – by Peter O’Neil (Vancouver Sun – June 16, 2016)

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau acknowledged Thursday he won’t be able to please all Canadians on the oilsands pipeline issue that has pitted Alberta’s desperate need for an economic boost against intense concerns in B.C. and Quebec.

Trudeau, in an exclusive interview, also refused to say whether his 2015 election commitments would give vetoes to local communities and First Nations who vehemently oppose oilsands pipelines in their midst.

His comments coincided with the release of a new poll showing big differences in regional views towards the idea of transporting hundreds of thousands of barrels a day of diluted bitumen to the Atlantic and Pacific coasts. Continue Reading →

Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall renews attacks on possibility of federal carbon tax, defends Energy East – by Sean Craig (Financial Post – June 15, 2016)

Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall renewed his attacks on the idea of a federal carbon tax Tuesday, suggesting that attempts to put a price on carbon could face legal obstacles.

“If the federal government wanted to come with some sort of unilateral carbon tax plan, we think they’re constitutionally restricted from taxing other governments,” he said following a speech on the Energy East pipeline Tuesday afternoon at the Empire Club in downtown Toronto. “In our province that would mean SaskPower and SaskEnergy.”

Wall’s comments come following reports that federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau is considering a national carbon tax. Last week, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said part of his government’s energy policy objective is to ensure there is a minimum carbon price across the country. Continue Reading →

Oil CEOs meet to plot new strategy as fissures within industry grow – by Claudia Cattaneo (Financial Times – June 10, 2016)

At a private meeting at the Calgary Petroleum Club last Friday, 150 or so oil and gas CEOs and other business leaders met to discuss the future of Canadian energy. Most of the companies represented were small players. The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, the large industry association that is seen as being dominated by the largest companies, was not invited.

The general discussion was about frustration that Canadians are being played for fools by their own governments about the real potential and cost of renewable energy, leading to rushed decisions to transition away from hydrocarbons and meet greenhouse gas reduction targets, without a fulsome and honest assessment of the consequences.

“Why are we only looking at the impacts of oil and gas, compared to the benefits of renewables?” asked Michael Binnion, the president and CEO of Calgary-based Questerre Energy Corp., who convened the meeting. Continue Reading →

Saskatchewan’s Brad Wall warns the oilpatch is under siege by activists – by James Wood (Calgary Herald – June 8, 2016)

“Alberta has made their decision. I think the timing for another new national tax,
carbon tax or levy of some sort, is just wrong,” he said, comparing the situation
to a hypothetical new tax on vehicles being introduced when the auto industry
was in turmoil during the economic crisis of 2008-09….Wall said he isn’t
suggesting governments shouldn’t try to curb greenhouse gas emissions but he
downplayed Canada’s 1.6 per cent contribution to global carbon output.

Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall came to the heart of the oilpatch Wednesday to warn that the energy industry is under “existential threat” from environmental activists.

In a speech to the Explorers and Producers Association of Canada at the Petroleum Club, Wall slammed the idea of a national carbon tax and took aim at both the United States government for rejecting the Keystone XL pipeline and other Canadian provinces for throwing up obstacles to energy transportation projects.

Wall, whose Saskatchewan Party was recently re-elected for a third term, said the energy industry needs defenders against “an ever-growing matrix of activists,” citing proponents of the Leap Manifesto within the NDP and the divestment movement that calls for companies and public bodies to shed their energy holdings. Continue Reading →

New road needed in Fort Mac rebuild (Sudbury Star – June 3, 2016)

Postmedia Network – There is a mountain of post-wildfire rebuilding ahead for Fort McMurray. But at least one change should be added: road access into and around this important northern city.

Fort McMurray’s geography has been part of the wildfire story since the May 3 evacuation. The reality of a city designed with one road in and out — Highway 63 — meant evacuees funnelled either south through the fire or north to the shelter of oilsands facilities. Going north meant residents were safe from the immediate danger of the fire, but they were also stranded.

Now is the time for the federal, provincial and local governments to hash out a real plan to correct the oversight and answer the long-standing community call for an additional road into, or at least around, Fort McMurray. One option is a project called the East Clearwater Multi-Use Access Road, a 30-kilometre ring road primarily aimed at keeping heavy trucks off Highway 63, which cuts through the heart of Fort McMurray. Continue Reading →

While Canada dithers, the world shops elsewhere for energy – by Gary Lamphier (Edmonton Journal – May 31, 2016)

Eventually, Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government will have to stop talking out of both sides of its mouth and make some tough decisions on whether to support new oil pipelines or liquefied natural gas projects.

Although the Selfie King’s extended political honeymoon is starting to ebb — witness the blowback over his tough guy act in Parliament two weeks ago — we’re no closer to a final decision on key energy infrastructure projects than we were when Trudeau was elected in October.

This isn’t a fresh observation, of course. Globe and Mail columnist Jeffrey Simpson, among others, has chronicled the Trudeau regime’s chronic aversion to decision-making, and its affection for seemingly endless consultation and protracted regulatory reviews. Continue Reading →

Why India could be the oil market’s next big driver of consumption – by Joe Chidley (Financial Post – May 30, 2016)

Oil’s rise to US$50 a barrel earlier this month proved to be short-lived, but at least it suggested that oil prices had established a new and higher range. We might not be looking at a return to US$100-a-barrel WTI anytime soon, but prices seem to have stabilized somewhat, remaining north of US$40 for several weeks now.

Who knows how long this will last, of course. Support for higher prices has come at least in part from supply disruptions — in Nigeria and Libya, as well as Alberta, thanks to the Fort McMurray fires. Recent U.S. Energy Information Administration data suggest that stockpiles of crude are coming down.

Yet things like supply disruptions are difficult to predict, and even harder to count on when it comes to having a lasting impact on the supply glut. The better news might be that the other side of the supply-demand imbalance is starting to do what it’s supposed to do: There are signs that global demand is picking up. Continue Reading →

Will Electric Cars Destabilize the World? – by David Koranyi (The National Interest – May 29, 2016)

After a deep dive, oil prices are slowly crawling back up on the back of resurging demand from China and India in particular, as well as looming supply shortages from Nigeria to Venezuela. Yet oil markets are in for a rough ride, as uncertainties mount regarding oil’s continued predominance as transportation fuel in the coming decades.

An accelerated adoption of electric vehicles would hasten the end of the oil era, and could cause significant geopolitical turbulence as producer countries heavily reliant on oil revenues will struggle to diversify their economies. We are already witnessing the destabilizing effects of low oil prices in the Middle East, while Russia’s aggressive behavior can also be partially explained by its domestic economic woes.

At first glance, oil producers should not be too nervous. The International Energy Agency predicts that before the end of this decade, we should expect oil prices to rebound in the 80-plus-dollar range, as demand will continue to rise and new sources of supply will need to be brought to production to replace depleting ones. Continue Reading →

A 7,000-kilometre northern corridor in search of shared vision – by Claude Montmarquette and Andrei Sulzenko (Globe and Mail – May 27, 2016)

Canada’s history is full of examples of large-scale transportation infrastructure projects that have motivated growth and helped define a shared vision for the country. The Canadian Pacific Railway, the Trans-Canada Highway and the St. Lawrence Seaway are prime examples.

But the Canada of 2016 does not have such grand plans for infrastructure that may be vital to supporting economic and social development in this country. Aside from some private-sector proposals (mainly pipelines), there are precious few examples of transportation infrastructure developments outside our major urban centres.

The best way to address this lack of vision may well be through a bold approach being examined by researchers at the School of Public Policy at the University of Calgary and CIRANO, a Quebec-based economic research organization. We have just released a study on the potential for a major transportation right-of-way through Canada’s North and near North, connecting resource-rich areas with tidewater access on all three coasts. Continue Reading →

Proposed 7,000-kilometre resource corridor would improve life in Canada’s North, researchers say – by Eric Atkins (Globe and Mail – May 27, 2016)

An ambitious proposal to build a 7,000-kilometre trade and infrastructure corridor in Canada’s North has taken a key step forward.

The Northern Corridor would link Canada’s people, goods and natural resources with overseas and southern markets, and boost sovereignty and development in vast swaths of the country that are economically isolated, concludes the first feasibility study of the concept. The idea was launched a year ago by the University of Calgary’s School of Public Policy and Montreal’s Centre for Interuniversity Research and Analysis of Organizations.

Pipelines, railways, roads, electricity and transmission lines would share the right of way that extends from the Pacific to Atlantic oceans, the Beaufort Sea to the north, as well as Hudson Bay and the St. Lawrence Seaway, connecting to existing rails, roads, pipes and ports in the southern part of Canada. Continue Reading →

Donald Trump says he would approve Keystone XL, but with new deal and piece of the profits – by Claudia Cattaneo (Financial Post – May 27, 2016)

CALGARY — The U.S. environmental movement’s biggest win yet, the defeat of the Keystone XL pipeline, could be history if Donald Trump takes the White House in November.

The Republican presidential candidate confirmed Thursday he would approve TransCanada Corp.’s proposed oil pipeline to link Alberta’s oilsands to refineries in the U.S. Gulf, but on different terms.

“I would absolutely approve it, 100 percent, but I would want a better deal,” Trump told reporters at a press conference in Bismarck, N.D., where he was scheduled to give a speech to an oil conference on the energy policies he would pursue. “I want it built, but I want a piece of the profits,” Trump said. “That’s how we’re going to make our country rich again.” Continue Reading →

A Tale of Two Gluts: Oil and Ore Cross $50 on Opposite Paths – by Eddie Van Der Walt (Bloomberg News – May 26, 2016)

Crude oil and iron ore are two of the world’s most important industrial commodities, where supply and demand are tied to the fate of the global economy. Yet, they’re doing very different things right now.

Oil traded above $50 a barrel for the first time this year while iron, moving in the opposite direction, fell below $50 a ton on Thursday. It’s a slightly artificial comparison — there’s little physical equivalence between a barrel of oil and a ton of ore — but their differing paths tell us something about how the aftermath of the global commodities crash is playing out in different industries.

While both commodities have been plagued by overproduction, the glut looks to be ending in oil as unprofitable fields are shut and companies cut investments, according to forecasters from the International Energy Agency to Goldman Sachs Group Inc. Continue Reading →