Archive | Oil and Gas Sector-Politics and Image

Support for UN declaration on native rights may spell trouble for Canada’s resource sector – by Tom Flanagan (Globe and Mail – November 23, 2015)

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.

Tom Flanagan is professor emeritus of political science at the University of Calgary and chair of the aboriginal futures research program with the Frontier Centre for Public Policy.

The new Liberal government says it will implement the 2007 United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. It’s no surprise, as the Liberals campaigned on it. Nonetheless, there is great potential for mischief here because the sweeping language of the declaration is inconsistent with well-established principles of Canadian property law.

Article 32 of the declaration would require Canada to obtain from indigenous peoples “free and informed consent prior to the approval of any project affecting their lands or territories” for developing natural resources. Continue Reading →

Marxipedia, your tax dollars at work – by Peter Foster (National Post – November 20, 2015)

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

When Joe Oliver was Natural Resources Minister in the Harper government, he identified “foreign-funded radicals” as obstructions to Canadian resource development. He was pilloried for speaking the truth. Imagine if any government-funded organization had given out millions of dollars to study those sources of foreign funds?

There would have been political and academic outrage, cries of “witch hunt” and “muzzling.” Well, the muzzle is now off, and foreign-funded radicals have nothing to fear.

They are seated at the right hand of power, radical funding has been repatriated, and the anti-corporate witch hunt can begin in earnest right here in Canada with local funding. Continue Reading →

Oil sector girds for harsh winter as energy slump continues – by Jeff Lewis (Globe and Mail – November 19, 2015)

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.

CALGARY — The oil patch is getting ready to hibernate.

A darkening commodity outlook for 2016, combined with uncertainties over major pipeline proposals and the looming threat of more stringent environmental rules imposed by governments in Edmonton and Ottawa, is undermining confidence in the sector, setting the stage for deeper cutbacks as companies map out spending plans for next year.

Suncor Energy Inc. late on Tuesday unveiled a bigger budget for 2016, but the company trimmed its production forecast and warned it could chop spending if oil prices continue to sink. Continue Reading →

Forget tankers and pipelines, David Black has a plan for a ‘West Coast exit’ for Canada’s oil – by Geoffrey Morgan (National Post – November 17, 2015)

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

CALGARY – David Black’s plan to build a $22-billion refinery on the coast of British Columbia has long been derided as a pipe dream. But Black believes that given the recent government moves affecting the Keystone XL and Northern Gateway pipelines his proposed refinery is the best option for Albertan oil exports.

Moreover, Black said in an interview he won’t need a pipeline to build and operate his proposed 550,000 barrel-per-day Kitimat Clean refinery on the north coast of B.C., for which he expects to file applications for federal and provincial regulatory approvals by Christmas.

“You’re going to have to focus on what it takes to get a West Coast exit for your oil, and God knows a West Coast exit is far more lucrative than a southern or an eastern exit,” said Black, the owner of Kitimat Clean Ltd. and the Black Press Group Ltd. newspaper chain.

Major oilsands producers have been unwilling to sign contracts with Kitimat Clean because, Black said, their executives didn’t know if the project would ever be built. Continue Reading →

Key takeaways from the Keystone rejection – by Jeffrey Simpson (Globe and Mail – November 11, 2015)

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.

If the Republicans win the next presidential election, the Keystone XL pipeline might yet be built. But if Hillary Clinton, the almost-certain Democratic nominee, becomes president, then Keystone will get its last rites, given that she recently opposed the project.

What lessons can we learn from President Barack Obama’s rejection of Keystone XL last week? Here are a few, but by no means all.

U.S. politics will trump Canada-U.S. relations every time. The idea that somehow Canada’s historical relations and friendship with the United States will induce a president to give priority to relations with Canada when domestic U.S. politics are at play fundamentally misunderstands Washington and how little Canada counts there.

The Obama administration strung Canada along for five years over Keystone, hardly the way to treat a “friend.” Continue Reading →

Grave mistake’ to be complacent on energy security, International Energy Agency warns – by Yadullah Hussain (National Post – November 10, 2015)

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

A prolonged period of lower oil prices would benefit consumers, but would trigger energy-security concerns by increasing reliance on a small number of low-cost producers “or risk a sharp rebound in price if investment falls short,” the International Energy Agency warned Tuesday.

A surge in renewable energy deployment and a period of low oil prices is giving the world a false sense of energy security, the Paris-based agency warned in its benchmark annual World Energy Outlook.

“It would be a grave mistake to index our attention to energy security to changes in the oil price,” IEA executive director Fatih Birol, said in a statement. “Now is not the time to relax. Quite the opposite: a period of low oil prices is the moment to reinforce our capacity to deal with future energy security threats.”

The global oil industry needs to invest US$630 billion “just to compensate for declining production at existing fields and to keep future output flat at today’s levels” the energy watchdog said. Continue Reading →

GLOBE EDITORIAL: Ottawa couldn’t help Keystone, but it can still approve pipelines at home (Globe and Mail – November 7, 2015)

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.

In the more than half a decade the Keystone XL pipeline proposal spent in limbo – neither accepted nor rejected, neither pumping nor scrapped – thousands upon thousands of miles of new oil pipeline were built across the United States, without fuss or much public interest.

In the years to come, many other pipelines crisscrossing U.S. soil will surely be approved. But Keystone is, or was, different. American politics long ago took hold of it, first putting it into an indefinite deep freeze, and then this week keeping it alive just long enough to finally kill it.

On Monday, the company behind the project, TransCanada Corp., asked the U.S. government to suspend its application. The move made sense, given that it was already apparent that the application had little chance of success under the Obama administration.

But the U.S. State Department, which long ago put the application into suspended animation, refused to agree to the company’s request. Continue Reading →

Obama Rejects Construction of Keystone XL Oil Pipeline – by Coral Davenportnov (New York Times – November 6, 2015)

WASHINGTON — President Obama announced on Friday that he had rejected the request from a Canadian company to build the Keystone XL oil pipeline, ending a seven-year review that had become a symbol of the debate over his climate policies.

Mr. Obama’s denial of the proposed 1,179-mile pipeline, which would have carried 800,000 barrels a day of carbon-heavy petroleum from the Canadian oil sands to the Gulf Coast, comes as he seeks to build an ambitious legacy on climate change.

“America is now a global leader when it comes to taking serious action to fight climate change,’’ Mr. Obama said in remarks from the White House. “And frankly, approving this project would have undercut that global leadership.’’

The move was made ahead of a major United Nations summit meeting on climate change to be held in Paris in December, when Mr. Obama hopes to help broker a historic agreement committing the world’s nations to enacting new policies to counter global warming. While the rejection of the pipeline is largely symbolic, Mr. Obama has sought to telegraph to other world leaders that the United States is serious about acting on climate change. Continue Reading →

America has built the equivalent of 10 Keystone pipelines since 2010 — and nobody said anything – by Yadullah Hussain (National Post – November 4, 2015)

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

While TransCanada Corp. has been cooling its heels on its Keystone XL proposal for the past six years, the oil pipeline business has been booming in the United States.

Crude oil pipeline mileage rose 9.1 per cent last year alone to reach 66,649 miles, according to data from the Washington, D.C.-based Association of Oil Pipe Lines (AOPL) set to be released soon.

Between 2009 and 2013, more than 8,000 miles of oil transmission pipelines have been built in the past five years in the U.S., AOPL spokesperson John Stoody said, compared to the 875 miles TransCanada wants to lay in the states of Montana, South Dakota and Nebraska for its 830,000-bpd project. By last year, the U.S. had built 12,000 miles of pipe since 2010.

“That’s the point we make,” Stoody said. “While people have been debating Keystone in the U.S. we have actually built the equivalent of 10 Keystones. And no one’s complained or said anything.” Continue Reading →

The Alberta disadvantage – by Peter Foster (National Post – October 30, 2015)

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

There were few surprises in this week’s first budget from Alberta’s NDP government, but one great paradox. Projections of eventual fiscal balance depend on the recovery of an industry which the government is committed not merely to diversify away from but euthanize.

The environmental left usually has the luxury of living in a dream world in which they can enjoy the fruits of a fossil-fuelled society while they condemn it, and dwell in Utopian visions of a wind- and solar-powered future. The Alberta NDP is unusual in being forced to confront fossil-fuel reliance very directly, although it doesn’t appear to have quite caught on. Then again, that’s why it’s an NDP government.

As the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers noted in a submission to the province’s royalty review panel this week, the oil industry employs approximately one in three Albertans, it generates two-fifths of Alberta’s GDP, and is responsible for more than a third of provincial revenues.

So the government wants to get away from it as quickly as possible, both for the sake of diversification and the health of the planet. Continue Reading →

Editorial: Teck, Freeport burned by falling oil and gas prices – by John Cumming (Northern Miner – October 27, 2015)

The Northern Miner, first published in 1915, during the Cobalt Silver Rush, is considered Canada’s leading authority on the mining industry.

It must have seemed like a good idea at the time a few years ago when Teck Resources and Freeport-McMoRan management bought deeper into the oil and gas sector and diversified further away from their mining businesses, but those decisions to dabble have come back to sting both companies.

In a new phase of financial reporting, miners like Teck and Freeport are posting major non-cash losses related to falling commodity prices, rather than the scenario several years ago when writedowns more often stemmed from cost overruns at projects under construction, or overpayment for acquisitions.

In its quarterlies released on Oct. 22, Teck recorded impairment charges totalling $2.2 billion on an after-tax basis ($2.9 billion pre-tax), including $1.5 billion on its metallurgical coal assets, $340 million on the Andacollo copper assets and $343 million on its 20% share of the Fort Hills oilsands megaproject in Alberta. Continue Reading →

Alberta NDP’s budget will force the oilpatch to fend for itself – by Claudia Cattaneo (National Post – October 28, 2015)

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

Alberta Finance Minister Joe Ceci tabled a “shock absorber” tax, spend and borrow budget Tuesday for Canada’s top oil and gas producing province to ease the impact of low commodity prices on provincial finances.

But if you are in the energy sector, and taking the brunt of that price shock and slashing spending and laying off people, the best you can hope for from the left-leaning NDP government is that you still have a viable business if and when oil prices recover.

In its first budget since unseating Alberta’s Conservative dynasty last May, the NDP government had harsh words for the previous regime for “squandering resource revenue” instead of saving it and for failing to “diversify” Alberta’s economy.

Ceci said his government is prioritizing stable funding for health care, education and social services as the province battles a mild recession, plans to return to a balanced budget by 2019/2020, and will help with job creation and economic diversification in areas like petrochemicals, agriculture, tourism, technology, creative industries and manufacturing. Continue Reading →

[Justin Trudeau] Not his father’s Liberal? Don’t be so sure – by Peter Foster (National Post – October 21, 2015)

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

Pierre Trudeau’s infamous 1980 National Energy Program sought to demonize American oil companies, promote local champions, direct corporate activity, and grab oil revenue. It was an economic disaster.

Since the days of Pierre, the urge to regulate, redistribute and centrally plan has not disappeared, despite the intervening collapse of the Berlin Wall. Indeed, the urge has swelled to global proportions on the back of projected catastrophic man-made climate change.

The climate issue – whose existential seriousness Trudeau claims to believe, and which dominates his government’s immediate future – seeks to demonize all oil companies, promote local green champions, direct corporate activity towards “technologies of the future,” and load on carbon taxes. More than that, the climate agenda seeks to put all economic activity under global control.

Pierre never seemed to take that much interest in the NEP or economic nationalism, which bubbled up from the popularity of Petrocan with a naïve electorate, and out of the Liberal backrooms via men such as Maurice Strong, “the most important man of whom most people have never heard.” Continue Reading →

The bright side of a majority Liberal government for Alberta’s energy sector – by Claudia Cattaneo (National Post – October 21, 2015)

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

Justin Trudeau’s Liberals’ powerful election victory shows that the environmental left’s message remains on the political fringe — even if it does mean a more cautious federal approach to energy development in Canada.

The anti-energy movement’s failure to translate opposition to oil pipelines, tankers and oilsands development into political support is apparent in British Columbia, where the Liberals dominated Metro Vancouver, the Green party failed to build on Elizabeth May’s single seat in Saanich-Gulf Islands, and the NDP’s early lead collapsed despite efforts by politically active groups like Dogwood Initiative to turn the election into a referendum on oil pipelines and tankers.

The Liberals even scooped the new riding of Burnaby North-Seymour, a closely watched race where political newcomer Terry Beech, a small-business owner, defeated by a wide margin the NDP’s star candidate, Carol Baird Ellan, a former chief judge of the Provincial Court of British Columbia who was endorsed by activists opposed to the expansion of the TransMountain pipeline.

The Greens scraped out just five per cent support for Simon Fraser University professor Lynne Quarmby, who was involved in the Burnaby Mountain protests against the Kinder Morgan project. Continue Reading →

Canadian Oil Sands Ltd CEO says Suncor Energy Inc used ‘insider information’ for ‘opportunistic and exploitive bid’ – by Yadullah Hussain (National Post – October 20, 2015)

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

TORONTO — Canadian Oil Sands Ltd.’s CEO Ryan Kubik said Monday his board will fight the sale of the company at what it calls “firesale prices” and he accused Suncor Energy Inc. of taking advantage of insider information to present an “opportunistic and exploitive” bid.

“They are using all of this opportunism to try to capture value for their own shareholders — that’s good for Suncor shareholders in building Suncor’s empire but not good for Canadian Oil Sands shareholders,” Kubik told the Financial Post on a visit to Toronto that involved mustering shareholder opposition to Suncor’s $4.3-billion hostile takeover plan, announced earlier this month. The COS board unanimously recommended Monday that its shareholders reject Suncor’s $4.3 billion bid.

No other offers have been put on the table for Canadian Oil Sands, whose business relies on a 37 per cent stake in the 350,000 barrel per day Syncrude oilsands project, in which Suncor also has a 12 per cent stake. The COS acquisition would raise Suncor’s stake in Syncrude to nearly 49 per cent. Continue Reading →