29th July 2014

U.K. opens more than half of country to drilling, goes ‘all out for shale’ – by Eric Reguly (Globe and Mail – July 29, 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.

David Cameron’s long and risky campaign to unleash a shale gas revolution in Britain finally met with success on Monday, when government ministers opened up more than half the country to drilling.

The prime minister and his top deputies had been promoting shale gas for years, declaring that his government is “going all out for shale” as a way to reverse the country’s dependency on imported fuels, create jobs and bring down, or a least slow the relentless increase, of energy prices.

Lately, the crisis in Ukraine added a geo-political boost to their effort. Russia is the top supplier of gas to Europe and much of that gas travels through Ukrainian pipelines.

But the drilling approval has come with severe restrictions that deprived Mr. Cameron of total victory. Drilling in national parks and “areas of outstanding natural beauty” will only be allowed in “exceptional circumstances,” government guidelines dictated. Those circumstances were not immediately clear.

A spokeswoman for the department of communities and local government, publisher of the new drilling guidelines, said “defining exceptional circumstances is not an easy thing to do. It all depends on local communities and local conditions.” Read the rest of this entry »

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28th July 2014

Pact Putinia: How Russia’s gas plan will unfold – by Diane Francis (National Post – July 26, 2014)

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

Speculation about President Vladimir Putin proliferates. Does he want to occupy Ukraine? Has he gone too far by arming and training Russian mercenaries who shot down the Malaysian Air jet with 298 passengers? Why is he thumbing his nose at global outrage and more sanctions? What will stop him?

Such questions miss the mark.

Putin has been executing the same business/geopolitical model for years aimed at guaranteeing his natural gas monopoly in Europe and keeping out rivals.

Ukraine is his latest victim because it ousted his puppet, Victor Yanukovych, and also because its huge oil and gas reserves could eventually make Ukraine a competitor for European customers.

Russia has controlled Ukraine since it declared independence in 1991, mostly through corruption. But in 2005, the populace staged the 2005 Orange Revolution and the 2013-14 Maidan uprising rose up against and finally expelled Yanukovych. But their victory became defeat because Putin changed tactics by shifting from managing a Ukrainian kleptocracy to engineering a fake insurrection in parts of the country to turn its resource base into a no-go zone. Read the rest of this entry »

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25th July 2014

Cold Lake heats up as oil boom beckons – by Yadullah Hussain (National Post – July 25, 2014)

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

Osum Oil Sands Corp. CEO Steve Spence says he used to call Cold Lake the “unknown story in the oil sands”.

Not any more. While the city of Fort McMurray further north has garnered all the attention for its rapid growth, Cold Lake city has been an oil boomtown in its own right with production in its vicinity ramping up to half a million barrels per day.

“It is actually the most understood region [in terms of geology],” Mr. Spence said, although the Athabasca basin in Fort McMurray produces the bulk of Canada’s oil output.

Osum made a big move in Cold Lake in June, picking up Royal Dutch Shell Plc.’s assets in the region for $325-million. The Orion project produces about 6,700-bpd and is located close to the company’s Taiga facility, which is yet to start production. Mr. Spence expects the Orion transaction to close by the end of the month.

Mayor Craig Copeland says his city is ripe for a new boom.

“In the past few years, we have really seen a ramp up in development in our city. We have had several small booms before, but all of a sudden a lot of people have been coming to work on construction sites,” Mr. Copeland said in an interview. “This past winter —the winter that was so cold —we had approximately a good 3,000 people embedded in the community in rentals; houses and hotels were full.” Read the rest of this entry »

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22nd July 2014

[Canadian federal minister] Leona Aglukkaq targets Greenpeace in ICC speech – (CBC News – July 22, 2014)

 

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/north

Leona Aglukkaq, Nunavut’s MP and Canada’s Minister of Environment, had strong words against Greenpeace in her keynote address at the Inuit Circumpolar Council’s general assembly in Inuvik, N.W.T.

“Inuit were victims of misinformation and lies spread by a group that had no regard for their impact on our way of life,” she said of Greenpeace’s campaign against the seal hunt.

She did not specifically mention the issue of seismic testing to look for oil and gas reserves in Nunavut. Greenpeace opposes seismic testing and has been working with Inuit groups in Nunavut who are fighting federally-approved seismic testing off Baffin Island over concerns of the effects the tests would have on marine mammals.

Aglukkaq said Inuit need to stick together and not be manipulated. “Other people who are not our friends will try to use Inuit as weapons in their own battles,” she said. Read the rest of this entry »

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21st July 2014

Lone producer, Canadian firm lead charge on Greek energy – by Eric Reguly (Globe and Mail – July 21, 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.

ATHENS – In the 1970s, an unlikely company played a key role in opening up Greece’s oil and gas industry. That company was Toronto’s Denison Mines, then better known as a uranium miner but one with ambitions to put the Eastern Mediterranean on the energy map.

It worked for a while. Offshore rigs in the Prinos field, in the brilliant blue northern Aegean Sea, pumped away until the late 1990s, when the oil price collapsed. The Denison-led consortium handed the entire project to the Greek government and walked away.

For the next two decades, pretty much nothing happened in the Greek oil and gas sector even though the country’s energy bill was soaring.

That all changed in 2009, when a new Greek explorer, Energean Oil & Gas, prodded the old field back to life. Today, it is Greece’s only oil producer and, with the help of a small Canadian company, Petra Petroleum, is leading the charge to prove that Greece can meet a good chunk of its energy needs.

“Any discoveries of oil and gas would be a huge benefit to the local market,” said Energean chief executive officer Mathios Rigas, a former investment banker and private equity fund manager. “We will never find out unless we drill wells.” Foreign investors are starting to pay attention. Read the rest of this entry »

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18th July 2014

Australia’s carbon reversal sets new tone for global climate talks – by Shawn McCarthy (Globe and Mail – July 18, 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 — Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s move to repeal his country’s carbon tax provides an international boost for the Harper government, which has regularly attacked opponents who propose putting a price on emissions in Canada.

Australia’s reversal on carbon pricing comes at a critical time, just two months prior to a United Nations climate summit to be hosted by secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, who is looking for countries to commit to post-2020 emission reductions and new policies to achieve those targets.

And it comes as Prime Minister Stephen Harper faces continued pressure to impose some form of carbon pricing in Canada, particularly in the booming oil sands where rising emissions threaten to swamp the government’s commitment to rein in carbon pollution.

Mr. Abbott visited Canada last month, and Mr. Harper commended him for ending the “job-killing carbon tax” as the Australian had pledged during last year’s general election in which he defeated the Labor Party-led coalition government. With their resource-based economies and relatively small populations occupying large land masses, Australia and Canada are among the world’s top per-capita emitters of greenhouse gases (GHGs). Read the rest of this entry »

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18th July 2014

Chinese arrest of former PetroChina Canadian chief casts shadow over Athabasca Oil projects – by Claudia Cattaneo (National Post – July 17, 2014)

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

CALGARY – In a move that adds uncertainty to PetroChina’s plans for Canada, Zhiming Li, the PetroChina executive who built and headed the Chinese company’s operations in this country for the past four years, has been arrested by the Chinese government.

According to a July 16 report in Caixin, a Beijing-based financial media news organization, Mr. Li “was taken in for questioning … directly at the airport” as he returned to China last month from Canada.

As reported in the Financial Post July 10, Mr. Li was unexpectedly replaced last month as CEO of Brion Energy Corp., as PetroChina’s subsidiary in Canada is known, by Shudong Chen.

Mr. Chen is still in China as he has not yet received a permit to work in Canada. The Chinese newspaper, which didn’t cite sources, said Yiwu Song, the deputy manager of overseas exploration and development at China National Petroleum Corp., was also taken away last week. The newspaper said the arrests follow a probe into Qiliang Bo, the former chief of PetroChina’s international business.

Mr. Li’s questioning links PetroChina’s Canadian operation to a corruption probe in China that has targeted the country’s top oil companies, has resulted in many arrests and is expected to slow down decisions. Read the rest of this entry »

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15th July 2014

‘The doorway has been kicked open’: Why oil patch juniors are growing again – by Claudia Cattaneo (National Post – July 14, 2014)

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

After years of tough slugging, Canada’s junior oils are back in the spotlight, riding the low Canadian dollar, higher oil and gas prices and an influx of new capital — a lot of it American.

IPOs, brisk merger and acquisition activity, soaring share prices are signs the entrepreneurial ranks of Canada’s oil patch are growing again, said Gary Leach, president of the Explorers and Producers Association of Canada.

“You have to have the right profile, the right management team and the right story, but definitely the doorway has been kicked open in the equity markets,” Mr. Leach said. “There is an appetite for Canadian juniors and intermediate companies, and that is great to see because this industry has been waiting for quite some time.”

If the trend holds, it could mean a new round of industry renewal led by juniors focused on producing oil and gas using horizontal multi-stage fracturing of tight rock.

“There is quite a better mood since the start of the year, than at any time in the past three,” said Kevin Adair, president and CEO of Petrus Resources Ltd., a private oil and gas junior company that produces about 5,000 barrels a day. “It seems capital is willing to take a chance on new teams and I think there will be a resurgence of teams starting up again, and new names — not just the same guys cycling for another round.” Read the rest of this entry »

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11th July 2014

Aboriginal title ruling ‘all but guarantees uncertainty’ for CA mining projects – by Dorothy Kosich (Mineweb.com – July 11, 2014)

http://www.mineweb.com/

“Future natural resources projects may be scuttled, and existing projects may be halted or shut down,” said Ravina Bains of the Fraser Institute.

RENO (MINEWEB) – In a briefing published Thursday, British Columbia’s Fraser Institute’s Centre for Aboriginal Policy Studies warned that a recent Canadian Supreme Court ruling granting a group of six B.C. First Nations title to a large piece of land outside their reserves “will likely stunt economic development across Canada”.

“This court ruling all but guarantees uncertainty for natural resource projects in Canada and a potential increase in cost for economic development across the country,” said Ravina Bains, associate director of Aboriginal policy studies at the Fraser Institute.”

Unlike previous court rulings, the Tsilhqot-in Nation v. British Columbia judgment states that Aboriginal title can extend to all traditional territories and is not limited to specific villages. “This is particularly important in B.C. where one-third of the country’s First Nations reserves reside and where outstanding claims involve more than 100% of the province’s land,” said the Frasier Institute study. Read the rest of this entry »

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11th July 2014

Why the Supreme Court’s Tsilhqot’in land title decision is no game changer – by Robin Junger (National Post – July 10, 2014)

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

Robin Junger is a lawyer with McMillan LLP and co-chairs its aboriginal and environmental law groups. He is a former Deputy Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources for the Province of British Columbia.

The recent decision of the Supreme Court of Canada in Tsilhqot’in v. British Columbia is important. But it is not the first case dealing with aboriginal title and it is not a “game changer” that will undermine governmental authority or the ability to approve projects in the resource sector.

Perhaps the most legally significant aspect of the judgment is that it confirms, subject to certain requirements, governments – including provincial governments – can continue to regulate the land base where aboriginal title is claimed or proven.

And the reasons for which title can be infringed are not vague. The court has, twice now, expressly stated that these reasons can include purposes such as infrastructure development, mining, and forestry, provided justification is shown. So while this decision is historic and significant for the Tsilhqot’in people who have been the first to successfully prove title in a specific area, it simply does not represent a fundamental advance for the law of aboriginal title. Read the rest of this entry »

posted in Aboriginal and Inuit Mining, British Columbia Mining, Canada Mining, Canadian Media Resource Articles, Oil and Gas Sector-Politics and Image | 1 Comment

11th July 2014

Why China’s mood is souring on Canada’s oil patch – by Claudia Cattaneo (National Post – July 11, 2014)

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

Barely two years since the national outcry over China’s aggressive push into Canada’s oil patch, some of the major acquisitions are looking messy to hopeless.

Instead of reaping the rewards of their first big step out into a free market oil industry, Chinese investors seem more focused on cutting costs and bailing out. Scores of executives have been fired for failing to deliver.

Some blame Ottawa’s more restrictive foreign ownership rules for the subsequent Chinese investment chill. But China’s increasingly sour mood has more to do with bitterness over the high prices paid, frustrations with long timelines to turn resources into production and Canada’s difficult operating environment. One senior Chinese investor said there were expectations that operating in Canada would be easy once federal government approval was obtained.

The change in mood is having an impact. Among the companies feeling the brunt is Athabasca Oil Corp., which is awaiting a $1.23-billion payout from PetroChina after the Calgary-based company exercised a put option to sell its remaining stake in the Dover oil sands project.

Athabasca chief operating officer Rob Broen said at a TD Securities investment conference this week his company is in the final stages of closing the deal and “expects to receive the proceeds in the near term.” Read the rest of this entry »

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9th July 2014

Aboriginal group on Vancouver Island signs deal for LNG project – by Brent Jang (Globe and Mail – July 9, 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.

VANCOUVER — A self-governing aboriginal group on Vancouver Island has signed a deal with a fledgling liquefied natural gas company in hopes of developing a massive project to export LNG to Asia.

Members of the Huu-ay-aht First Nations say they are eager to work with project leader Steelhead LNG Corp. to build an export terminal near Bamfield on the southwest side of Vancouver Island.

Huu-ay-aht First Nations chief councillor Jeff Cook said his group is in a strong position to help nurture a major venture in the resource sector. He noted that the Supreme Court of Canada ruled last month that the consent of aboriginals is required for how their ancestral lands are used.

The Huu-ay-aht are part of the 2011 Maa-nulth First Nations Final Agreement, one of only a handful of treaty and land claim pacts in British Columbia. “We’re open for business.

For too long, we’ve been left behind in the resource industry and basically consulted after the fact. We want to be part of this LNG project,” Mr. Cook said in an interview. Read the rest of this entry »

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8th July 2014

U.S. Seen as Biggest Oil Producer After Overtaking Saudi Arabia – by Grant Smith (Bloomberg News – July 4, 2014)

http://www.bloomberg.com/

The U.S. will remain the world’s biggest oil producer this year after overtaking Saudi Arabia and Russia as extraction of energy from shale rock spurs the nation’s economic recovery, Bank of America Corp. said.

U.S. production of crude oil, along with liquids separated from natural gas, surpassed all other countries this year with daily output exceeding 11 million barrels in the first quarter, the bank said in a report today. The country became the world’s largest natural gas producer in 2010. The International Energy Agency said in June that the U.S. was the biggest producer of oil and natural gas liquids.

“The U.S. increase in supply is a very meaningful chunk of oil,” Francisco Blanch, the bank’s head of commodities research, said by phone from New York. “The shale boom is playing a key role in the U.S. recovery. If the U.S. didn’t have this energy supply, prices at the pump would be completely unaffordable.”

Oil extraction is soaring at shale formations in Texas and North Dakota as companies split rocks using high-pressure liquid, a process known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. The surge in supply combined with restrictions on exporting crude is curbing the price of West Texas Intermediate, America’s oil benchmark. The U.S., the world’s largest oil consumer, still imported an average of 7.5 million barrels a day of crude in April, according to the Department of Energy’s statistical arm. Read the rest of this entry »

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8th July 2014

Environmental group uses poll to battle oil sands PR – by Shawn McCarthy (Globe and Mail – July 4, 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 – A Toronto-based environmental group is challenging the aggressive messaging from the federal government and industry on the economic benefits of the oil sands with the release of a poll that suggests Canadians are ill-informed about the impact of the sector.

In a survey released Friday, Environmental Defence said 57 per cent of respondents overestimated the contribution of the oil sands to the national economy. According to Statistics Canada, oil sands production accounts for 2 per cent of the country’s gross domestic product, but more than 40 per cent of respondents pegged the figure at 12 per cent of GDP or higher.

The environmental group focused on the value of production from existing oil sands projects, but it did not account for current growth and new jobs that result from the construction of new projects or the pipelines and other infrastructure needed to get higher volumes of crude to market.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his ministers have routinely characterized the oil sands specifically – the the resource sector generally – as the engine of economic growth for Canada, and warn against any action that would slow down development. Read the rest of this entry »

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7th July 2014

First Perspective columnist [Bill Gallagher] features in CTV news segment – by Trevor Greyeyes (First Perspective – July 7, 2014)

http://www.firstperspective.ca/

Bill Gallagher right all along

I think the mainstream media in Canada is finally starting to clue in to the fact that Bill Gallagher knows a thing or two about First Nation issues especially when it comes to resource issues.

When I first interviewed him about his book “Resource Rulers” a couple of years ago, I knew that his expertise would help illuminate for our readers the murky depths of, among other things, the duty to consult and the myriad number of cases that have been decided in the courts and ones that have still to wind their way through Canada’s judiciary.

By the way, for a truly comprehensive look at the issues and court cases then I strongly recommend “Resource Rulers” as good background reading for the issues.

While many columnists in the media and certainly those working for the Federal government downplayed the growing winning streak in Canada’s courts, which when I first interviewed Gallagher stood at 150 but will pass 200 this year, Gallagher was proven right following the Supreme Court of Canada decision for Tsilhqot’in First Nation.

Click here for the BC CTV news program, Resource Rulers: http://bc.ctvnews.ca/more/first-story/resource-rulers-1.1899625

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