Oil firms demand access to markets – by Dan Healing (Calgary Herald – November 26, 2011)


Regulatory reform urged in wake of pipeline delay

The leaders of two of Canada’s biggest investors in oilsands mining came out swinging at a business forum in Lake Louise, demanding that the country adopt regulatory reform and ensure market access in the wake of the U.S. delaying the Keystone XL pipeline project.

Murray Edwards, vice-chairman of Canadian Natural Resources Ltd., and Shell Canada president Lorraine Mitchelmore told the Bennett Jones Lake Louise World Cup Business Forum on Friday that Canada is losing ground in the international marketplace.

Mitchelmore said the oil and gas sector has been complaining about red tape for years – and did so at the same forum six years ago – but nothing seems to get done. “We are the only major oil and gas exporting country in the world that does not have access to global markets.

“The level of opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline shows that access to our nextdoor neighbour, the U.S., is not a given anymore,” she said.

Pipelines to connect Canada to ocean-going tankers are needed, they said, endorsing the Northern Gateway pipeline that would take crude oil through Alberta and B.C. to be loaded on the West Coast.

That line faces more than 4,000 interveners as National Energy Board joint review panel hearings begin early next year and it is expected to have as difficult a time being approved as the $7-billion Keystone XL line that would take oilsands from Alberta to the Texas coast.

Mitchelmore blamed government for the seven-year process to win conditional approval for the Mackenzie Valley gas pipeline through the Northwest Territories – a stake in which Shell is trying to sell – noting that even after that it still must obtain thousands of permits before construction.

“These (Asian) economies need energy to grow,” she said. “And Canada is sitting here with all of this energy.

“It seems like the perfect match; however, Canada is hampered by this regulatory system that is truly blocking our access to what I call a window of opportunity and letting other resource countries get in ahead of us.”

Edwards, one of the organizers of the annual forum, said there is growing urgency as producers in Alberta face running out of export pipeline space by 2015 or 2016.

For the rest of this article, please go to the Calgary Herald website: http://www.calgaryherald.com/business/firms+demand+access+markets/5771590/story.html