Archive | Oil and Gas Sector-Politics and Image

How Canada blew its chance for a multibillion-dollar industry – by Nelson Bennett(Business Vancouver – July 25, 2017)

B.C. natural gas producers who can’t move gas to the West Coast could be supplying LNG producers on the U.S. Gulf Coast

While companies like Petronas and Shell haven’t formally abandoned their plans to build liquefied natural gas (LNG) plants in B.C. yet, and Nexen – owned by China’s CNOOC Ltd. (NYSE:CEO) – recently restarted the review of its Aurora LNG project in Prince Rupert, the prospects for a West Coast LNG industry appear to be growing dimmer by the day, especially now that Canadian projects have been beaten to market by Cheniere Energy Inc. (NYSE: LNG) in the U.S.

If B.C. gas ends up being exported to foreign markets, it might not be from the West Coast, but from the Gulf Coast. Cheniere, which has a three-train LNG terminal in production on the Sabine Pass River in Louisiana, and four more trains under construction, has already inked a contract with at least one natural gas producer on the Alberta side of the Montney region and is said to be actively courting producers in B.C.

“We’re very happy to get as many molecules from Canada as we can logistically supply to our two facilities at Sabine and at Corpus [Christi],” Cheniere executive vice-president and chief commercial officer Anatol Feygin recently told Bloomberg. Continue Reading →

Oil Giants Make a Play for Millennial Hires – by Polly Mosendz (Bloomberg News – July 17, 2017)

Faced with a retiree tsunami, the industry tries to woo a generation that largely sees it in a negative light. “This ain’t your daddy’s oil,” the commercial proclaims, cutting to shots of spray paint being made and a wall covered in fanciful graffiti. “Oil strikes a pose. Oil taps potential. Oil pumps life.”

Oil, in short, is cool, the industry’s branding braintrust has declared. The 30-second spot rolled out this year is part of a broader American Petroleum Institute campaign to “raise awareness about the role natural gas and oil has in economic growth, job creation, environmental stewardship, and national security.”

Dubbed Power Past Impossible, the ads by the lobbying arm of America’s oil giants are all about millennials, the generation of roughly 21 to 35 year olds which out-sizes any other and makes up the largest chunk of the American workforce. Continue Reading →

Who cleans up the mess when oil and mining companies go bankrupt? – by Tim Gray (Globe and Mail – July 14, 2017)

Tim Gray is the executive director of Environmental Defence.

Last week, the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) announced it would appeal a judge’s ruling that gave creditors priority access to a bankrupt oil company’s assets over its financial obligations to clean up abandoned wells. The AER is right to appeal because cleaning up environmental damage should take precedent over financial obligations. This appeal highlights a broader problem in Canada and the need for legislative action both provincially and federally.

The broader problem is that Canadians are burdened by the accumulating financial liability associated with cleaning up the environmental messes made by abandoned oil wells, closed mines and decaying tailings dams.

For example, in Alberta, the oil sands have been producing a vast and growing legacy of tailings ponds. These ponds contain leftover toxic hydrocarbons, heavy metals, water and sand. They now cover an area larger than the preamalgamation city of Toronto and Vancouver combined and are growing at a rate of 25 million litres a day. Continue Reading →

We’re living in a world of energy contradictions – by Peter Tertzakian (Financial Post – July 12, 2017)

The clutch is completely disengaged between consumer trends and conjectures about the imminent demise of oil, making the future cloudy at best

Last week’s announcement by Volvo that every car, “it launches from 2019 will have an electric motor,” jolted oil investors. Then France amped up the newswire by switching on a ban: No more combustion car sales by 2040. To cap off a trilogy of electric vehicle (EV) proclamations, Elon Musk lit up the twitter feed with a photo of Tesla Motor’s first Model 3 production car.

Oil companies and investors should take note. These announcements are impacting the industry and will increasingly do so. But it’s not because electric cords are going to replace pump hoses anytime soon.

The demand for oil is as robust as it’s ever been, thanks to barrels that are priced 60 per cent lower than they were three years ago; the linkage of petroleum to the world economy is actually strengthening not weakening. Continue Reading →

Not all Indigenous peoples oppose pipeline development – by Ken Coates (Globe and Mail – July 10, 2017)

Broad claims by politicians on behalf of Indigenous peoples reveal how little
public recognition there is of the great efforts Indigenous peoples have made
to secure a fair place for their communities and companies in the resource
sector. Pipeline firms have numerous agreements with Indigenous communities.
So do forestry and mining companies. Indigenous leaders may oppose one
project, but accept another.

The lessons for Canadian politicians should be clear by now. Not all Indigenous
peoples oppose development. Many, if not most, realize their hopes for economic
well-being and independence from the Government of Canada rest on carefully
planned and appropriately structured resource projects.

Ken Coates is a Munk Senior Fellow with the Macdonald-Laurier Institute.

Federal NDP leadership candidate and current Ontario MPP, Jagmeet Singh, is the latest politician to jump into the critical world of Indigenous affairs by offering quick and simple solutions to complex issues.

He has declared that he will, if elected prime minister, adopt and implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, stop the Kinder Morgan pipeline to the B.C. coast and kill the Energy East pipeline for good measure.

These are no doubt popular positions in some NDP circles, and even with significant numbers of Indigenous communities, but it is a mistake to project them uncritically onto Indigenous peoples. Continue Reading →

Fires Affect Canadian Lumber Mills, Get Close to Kinder Pipeline – by Natalie Obiko Pearson, Danielle Bochove and Jen Skerritt (Bloomberg News – July 11, 2017)

More than 300 wildfires in British Columbia have forced Canadian lumber mills to shut as hot, dry weather sparked blazes across swaths of western Canada and the U.S. Norbord Inc., the largest North American producer of oriented strand board used in residential construction, suspended production at its mill in 100 Mile House in central B.C. but stressed that, for now, the mill is safe.

“We were in a zone that got evacuated Sunday night so we shut the mill down and that continues to be the situation,” Norbord Chief Financial Officer Robin Lampard said by phone Tuesday morning. The Toronto-based company has 440 million square feet of annual production capacity. It hasn’t disclosed the cost per day of the shutdown, Lampard said.

Canfor Corp.’s operations aren’t directly affected by the wildfires, spokeswoman Corinne Stavness said in an email Tuesday. Interfor Corp. couldn’t be immediately reached for comment. Continue Reading →

As Canada’s first oilsands mine nears 50-year mark, site a contrast of old, new – by Dan Healing (Canadian Press/Victoria Times Colonist – June 23, 2017)

FORT MCMURRAY, Alta. — Nearly 50 years after the opening of Canada’s first major oilsands mine, the site on the banks of Alberta’s Athabasca River is an epicentre of energy, teeming with bustling workers amid signs of its pioneering past and cutting-edge future.

One of the mine’s upgraders — opened in September 1967 — turns heavy, sticky oilsands bitumen into light synthetic oil to ship to market. In the very near future, the ore containing that bitumen may be hauled by driverless trucks currently undergoing testing on site.

“Technology is a wonderful thing,” said Bill Bruce, general manager of mine production at the Suncor Energy Base Plant, located 24 kilometres north of Fort McMurray. “In some cases people are afraid of it, but if you don’t evolve as an organization or as people, you will be left behind.” Continue Reading →

The world prefers Canadian oil and gas over other exporters, so let’s start getting it to them – by Germain Belzile (Financial Post – June 15, 2017)

Germain Belzile is senior associate researcher at the MEI (

Global energy demand will rise by 30 per cent between 2015 and 2040, according to the World Energy Outlook 2016 published in November by the International Energy Agency (IEA). And although renewable energy will play an increasingly important role, the IEA predicts that demand for natural gas will increase by 50 per cent over this period, largely at the expense of coal, which is much more polluting, while oil consumption will increase by 12 per cent.

Canada, of course, is a significant producer of oil and natural gas. We have the third-largest global reserves of crude, and we are the fifth-largest producers of natural gas. Given the difficulties encountered by our oil and gas industry in getting its products to market, however, we might well wonder if consumers even want Canadian oil and gas products.

Two recent polls shine a light on the opinions of Canadians and of the citizens of 31 other countries when it comes to Canadian petroleum products. The results may be surprising to some. Canada was the most preferred supplier of oil and natural gas in a global poll. Continue Reading →

And then there was one: Final CEO who made climate deal with Notley left to defend it – by Claudia Cattaneo (Financial Post – June 21, 2017)

With Brian Ferguson leaving as CEO of Cenovus Energy Inc. following a disastrous oilsands acquisition, only one of the four top oilsands leaders who made a secret deal with Alberta NDP Premier Rachel Notley to support her climate change agenda — including a hard cap on oilsands emissions of 100 megatonnes a year — is still around to defend it.

Of the four executives on the stage with Notley during the announcement 18 months ago, Lorraine Mitchelmore left as president of Shell Canada and was replaced by Michael Crothers, who sold Shell’s oilsands business to Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. Murray Edwards, the billionaire oil investor and top shareholder of Canadian Natural, moved to the U.K. and has become disengaged from the Canadian oilpatch, though he remains the company’s chairman.

Cenovus announced Tuesday that Ferguson will retire Oct. 31 and that it will search for a new leader. With its stock price shattered by the US$13.3-billion acquisition of ConocoPhillips’ oilsands assets, Cenovus is now vulnerable to being taken over at a bargain-basement price — if there’s still appetite for oilsands companies given Notley’s punishing carbon reduction regime. Continue Reading →

Natural gas built Qatar, now may protect it in Gulf dispute – by Jon Gambrell (Colorado Springs Gazette – June 12, 2017)

Associated Press – DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Natural gas built the high-rises of Qatar’s capital, put the Al-Jazeera satellite news network on the air and a fleet of passengers jets for its state carrier in the sky. Now, it may be what protects Qatar as it is in the center of the worst diplomatic crisis to strike the Gulf in decades.

As the world’s biggest exporter of liquid natural gas, Qatar’s supplies keep homes warm in the British winter, fuel Asian markets and even power the electrical grid of the United Arab Emirates, one of the main countries that has cut ties to the energy-rich nation.

So far, its supplies have continued uninterrupted since the diplomatic dispute began last week. Natural gas markets have yet to respond to the rift and prices have remained stable. But Qatar wields a potential economic weapon if the crisis escalates and countries around the world that depend on its supply may find themselves needing to side with the tiny nation that is home to a major U.S. military installation. Continue Reading →

NDP-Green alliance seems not to care about any Canadians living east of the Rockies – by Kelly McParland (National Post – June 6, 2017)

Hostage-takers rarely endear themselves to their targets. During its reign as a danger to Confederation, Quebec won many concessions by regularly brandishing the threat of separation, but succeeded also in isolating itself while earning the enmity and resentment of much of the country.

Fortunately, those ugly years are fading with the decline of the Parti Québécois and its aging adherents. In its place we have British Columbia’s new hardline Green-NDP alliance with its intense focus on its narrow agenda, and dismissive approach to the interests of its neighbours and fellow Canadians.

The recent B.C. election left the Greens and New Democrats able to cobble together a wobbly alliance with a single-seat advantage over the Liberal government. NDP leader John Horgan and Green leader Andrew Weaver — the latter boasting just three of the 87 seats in the legislature — quickly reached a deal predicated on a radical reworking of the economy, with particular emphasis on opposition to energy projects of national importance. Continue Reading →

WATERS OF BLACK GOLD: THE STRAIT OF HORMUZ PT. 2 – by Imran Shamsunahar (Centre for International Maritime Security – June 12, 2017)

The first part of this two-part series on the Strait of Hormuz analyzed the strategic importance of the Strait for global energy shipping and political stability in the Arabian Gulf, and provided an overview of Iran’s overall strategy of using its asymmetric doctrine to disrupt commercial shipping within the vital waterways to both deter enemies and fight a protracted war if necessary. This second part will focus on Iran’s actual maritime capabilities and discusses whether their threats to close down oil shipment in the Strait of Hormuz are credible or not.

Although Tehran has frequently made clear their intentions to close the Strait of Hormuz in times of war or heightened tensions, do they actually have the military capability to do so? Both the Islamic Republic of Iran Navy (IRIN) and the Revolutionary Guards’ Navy (IRGCN) have invested in a multitude of asymmetrical weaponry which would be used to harass and disrupt shipping coming through the Strait.

One potent tool in the Iranian naval inventory is its extensive range of ASCMs, a capability the Iranians have sought to invest in since the Iran-Iraq War, either through direct purchase or by depending heavily on Chinese designs for indigenous production. Continue Reading →

WATERS OF BLACK GOLD: THE STRAIT OF HORMUZ PT. 1 – by Imran Shamsunahar (Centre for International Maritime Security – May 3, 2017)

What distinguishes navies from that of other branches of the military is that their raison d’etre is often inherently economical in nature. Navies primarily exist to protects one’s sea lines of communications (SLOCs) in trade and natural resources, while threatening those of your enemy’s in times of war. As the classical seapower theorist Mahan would memorably argue, “the necessity of a navy springs from the existence of peaceful shipping and disappears with it.”1

In today’s globalized world, where 90 percent of global trade is still transported through merchant shipping, ensuring that freedom of navigation is protected on the world’s waters has become more vital than ever for ensuring global economic growth and regional stability.

This is especially relevant when discussing the stability of global energy markets. A 2014 report by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) entitled “World Oil Transit Chokepoints” noted that in 2013 total petroleum and other liquids production was 90.1 million barrels per day (bb/d), with over 63 percent of that amount transported through seaborne trade. Continue Reading →

Coming B.C. NDP-Green agenda means province is next in line for an energy shock – by Claudia Cattaneo (Financial Post – June 9, 2017)

Here we go again. A new government is elected with unrealistic promises to restructure the energy system and new uncertainty is created for all those whose livelihood depended on the old one.

The next jurisdiction in line for an energy shock is British Columbia, where an NDP-Green coalition is poised to form government and planning energy reforms that make those of the Alberta NDP and the Federal Liberals look like a warm up.

The reforms are expected to scuttle all types of energy projects that aren’t in the right shade of green. The Trans Mountain pipeline expansion (oil), the Site C dam (hydro), liquefied natural gas (natural gas), shale plays like the Montney (natural gas) are now at the mercy of the new rulers. Continue Reading →

Canadians trust professors most and politicians least on energy issues and pipelines: survey – by Geoffrey Morgan (Financial Post – June 8, 2017)

CALGARY – As Canadians debate the merits of controversial west- and east-bound pipelines, a new study from Canada’s largest oil and gas industry group shows people trust university professors, their neighbours and environmental activists more than journalists and leaders of energy companies with information about oil and gas.

“Clearly there is a bias to the white lab coat, the person who is the thoughtful, independent researcher,” Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers’ vice-president, communications Jeff Gaulin said.

CAPP released the results of a wide-ranging survey Wednesday, conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs, that showed respondents’ attitudes toward various forms of energy, countries that produce energy, and the trustworthiness of energy information sources. Continue Reading →