Archive | Oil and Gas Sector-Politics and Image

First Nations eye stake in Trans Mountain pipeline in bid for ‘economic sovereignty’ – by Geoffrey Morgan (Financial Post – January 17, 2019)

Within the energy industry, there is a growing recognition that indigenous communities need equity ownership in pipelines and other projects in order to proceed

Tsuu T’ina, Alta. — Alberta First Nations are considering a bid to buy a stake in the Trans Mountain pipeline from Ottawa, but the project’s top executive says there is nothing to sell until the expansion project is approved.

Marlene Poitras, the influential Alberta regional chief for the Assembly of First Nations, said that she had informed Finance Minister Bill Morneau of the interest of Alberta’s indigenous communities in buying a stake in the project.

Speaking at the indigenous energy summit on the Tsuu T’ina Nation, a reserve on the edge of Calgary, Poitras said she had also advised the Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde and the Alberta provincial government that indigenous groups are looking to buy into the pipeline project. Continue Reading →

Welcome to another year of stomping on Canada’s most important industry – by Gwyn Morgan (Financial Post – January 17, 2019)

The cannabis industry may hit $6 billion in contributions to GDP, and automakers $20 billion. But oil and gas? A not-noteworthy $117 billion

What was Canada’s biggest business news story of 2018? According to the pundits at The Canadian Press, it wasn’t the giveaway of Canadian oil to Americans for tens of billions of dollars below world prices, caused by a lack of pipelines from Alberta. It wasn’t the loss of tens of billions more in oil and gas investment to the U.S., because Canada is too hostile to building new projects.

It wasn’t the Americanization of Encana, once the largest of all Canadian-headquartered companies. It wasn’t the federal Liberal government’s forced purchase of the Trans Mountain pipeline from Kinder Morgan because the expansion faced insurmountable opposition from the B.C. government and indigenous groups.

Nor was it the court decision blocking the federal government from completing that project. Instead, The Canadian Press’s choice of business news story of the year was … the legalization of cannabis. Continue Reading →

Club Med: Israel, Egypt, and Others Form New Natural Gas Group – by Keith Johnson (Foreign Policy – January 15, 2019)

Countries around the Eastern Mediterranean took a potentially important step toward realizing their dreams of boosting energy production with the creation Monday of a forum joining Israel, Egypt, Cyprus, and other neighbors to develop their new natural gas discoveries.

The Eastern Mediterranean Gas Forum, announced Monday in Cairo, formalizes growing energy ties among recent rivals and could spur much-needed development of energy infrastructure required to tap the region’s potential as a source of energy for Europe and beyond.

The forum in particular cements the growing commercial links between Israel and Egypt; Israel expects to start shipping natural gas to Egypt in the next few months as part of a landmark, $15 billion deal between the two countries. Continue Reading →

Indigenous Energy Summit to tackle pipeline ownership, leadership issues – by Geoffrey Morgan (Financial Post – January 16, 2019)

First Nations will hear presentations on how they might take ownership of major energy projects, including the Trans Mountain pipeline

CALGARY — First Nations that produce oil and gas in Canada will tackle some of the most contentious issues facing the sector at the Indigenous Energy Summit on Wednesday, including potential ownership bids for, and protests about, pipelines.

One of the biggest issues in the Canadian energy sector is the ongoing fight between hereditary chiefs and elected chiefs over the the $6.2-billion Coastal GasLink pipeline in British Columbia, which has opened wounds for current and former northern B.C. chiefs.

Meanwhile, First Nations will hear presentations on how they might take ownership of major energy projects, including the Trans Mountain pipeline. Continue Reading →

This pipeline is challenging Indigenous law and Western law. Who really owns the land? – by Justine Hunter, Brent Jang, Wendy Stueck and Shawn McCarthy (Globe and Mail – January 12, 2019)

Pipeline owners say they have consent, but Wet’suwet’en leaders are divided

With members of the Wet’suwet’en First Nation blockading a pipeline project on their traditional lands, Na’moks was standing by a crackling campfire, next to an RCMP checkpoint, drawing in the snow with his right boot.

The hereditary chief of the Tsayu clan made a small circle to represent the authority of elected band councils within reserves. Outside that circle, he explained, is where Wet’suwet’en clans wield power over a vast territory. “We are hereditary chiefs,” he said, “and we have control of this land.”

The temporary checkpoint was set up earlier this week in a remote area of the B.C. Interior as things got tense, with RCMP officers arresting 14 protesters on Monday at a blockade erected last month along a logging road. Continue Reading →

Why First Nations need more leaders like Crystal Smith – by Gary Mason (Globe and Mail – January 12, 2019)

“We want our people out of poverty,” Ms. Smith told me. “We are tired of managing poverty.”

When Crystal Smith considers the current pipeline dispute involving the Wet’suwet’en First Nation, she strains to hear the voices of those she believes matter most: the Wet’suwet’en people. It is true. As it so often is in standoffs of this nature.

We hear from politicians, hereditary chiefs, elected First Nations leaders, but we seldom hear from those in the community whose futures are affected most by decisions around resource development.

“They are the forgotten people in this situation,” Ms. Smith, the 39-year-old elected chief councillor of the Haisla First Nation, told me this week. “They are the only ones that can solve this dispute; not governments, not the courts. It’s the people in the community.” Continue Reading →

This is why conflicts with First Nations often seem insoluble – by Kelly McParland (National Post – January 11, 2019)

As in the case of the LNG protests in B.C., how can you reach agreements with a community that can’t agree with itself?

It might not seem immediately evident, but it’s possible the confrontation that has been taking place in a remote northern area of British Columbia will prove to be an important moment in Canada’s long, difficult struggle to come to terms with First Nations bands.

The situation offers a distillation of the dilemma that often makes relations with natives seem insoluble. That is, how can you reach agreements with a community that can’t agree with itself?

The dispute between Coastal GasLink, a subsidiary of TransCanada Corp., and some elements of the Wet’suwet’en Nation, rests not with the gas company, the government, the police, the courts or any of the people doing their best to meet all required parameters for dealing fairly and equitably with First Nations. It’s an argument between one set of native leaders and another. Continue Reading →

Politics and plans that got most everything wrong led to LNG protests – by Terry Glavin (National Post – January 10, 2019)

Blame those obstreperous Wet’suwet’en people all you like, but it was governments avoiding tough questions that caused this mess

There may be no right way to do fossil-fuel megaprojects at all anymore if we’re going to have a hope in hell of meeting our 2015 Paris climate accord commitments, but as far as the massive LNG Canada Kitimat plant and pipeline project goes — with the showdown this week on a remote British Columbia back road that immediately escalated into protests and marches and sit-ins across the country — the politics, promises and planning seem to have gotten just about everything wrong.

You could start with the way Prime Minister Justin Trudeau cheered LNG Canada’s announcement last October that the green light LNG got from B.C.’s NDP government meant full steam ahead for its long-planned $40-billion project, which is to include a new pipeline from Dawson Creek in the Peace River country to a liquefaction plant and export facility at Kitimat on the B.C. coast.

“Today’s announcement by LNG Canada represents the single largest private-sector investment project in Canadian history,” Trudeau said. “It is a vote of confidence in a country that recognizes the need to develop our energy in a way that takes the environment into account, and that works in meaningful partnership with Indigenous people.” Continue Reading →

B.C. pipeline protesters say they’ll obey injunction to end blockade – by Justine Hunter, Brent Jang and Alastair Spriggs (Globe and Mail – January 10, 2019)

Protesters blocking access to the site of a proposed natural gas pipeline in the British Columbia Interior say they will comply with a court injunction by Thursday afternoon and give access to construction workers, days after the RCMP arrested 14 people.

“For now, there is a peaceful resolution,” Jeff Brown, one of the five hereditary clan chiefs within the Wet’suwet’​en Nation, said in an interview on Wednesday night. “The injunction said to grant access, so if we grant access, that should be good enough,” said Mr. Brown, who also goes by Madeek.

He cautioned that the timing of complying with the injunction will hinge on a meeting between the RCMP and Wet’suwet’en hereditary leaders on Thursday morning. Mr. Brown made the comments after hereditary leaders of the Wet’suwet’en announced the concession at a news conference near the site of the blockade. Continue Reading →

Canada must start competing, assuming Trudeau and Morneau let us – by Conrad Black (National Post – January 5, 2019)

All countries are striving to better their lot, and so are we. The worrisome fact is that we are not doing a particularly brilliant job of it

It pains me unmercifully to open the new year in these pages with a less than vibrant comment from the Fraser Institute about Canada’s economy, but as one of the country’s leading editors told me a couple of years ago: “The greatest problem of this country is smugness.”

I do not conceive of my role as a columnist to deflate anybody, and certainly not an entire and distinguished nationality. However this question, broadly formulated, is the context for the next federal election in 10 months, and so is vested with more than the casual attention of someone scrambling to think of something to write about after a brief holiday from inflicting himself on readers.

The prime minister has, throughout these past three years, quoted Laurier in invoking his “sunny ways,” pleasant temperament, a phrase the CBC long habitually translated as “sunny voices” because our national public broadcaster in this only bicultural transcontinental confederation in the history of the world can’t distinguish these words as they are pronounced identically (“voies” and “voix”). It seems that no one at the CBC knows enough about the history of the country to be aware of what was a very famous phrase throughout Canada a century ago. Continue Reading →

Is Edward Burtynsky’s Anthropocene proof of ecological disaster — or power politics? – by Terence Corcoran (National Post – January 5, 2019)

With the arrival of Burtynsky as a high-profile advocate, the science campaign to define and identify the Anthropocene gets a fresh publicity boost

To sell Canadians on the merits of his carbon tax plan, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau staged a media event in late October before a group of high school students at the National Gallery in Ottawa. His backdrop was a wall-size image of Cathedral Grove #1, a beautiful but dark-hued interior view of a boreal forest on Vancouver Island taken in 2017 by famed Canadian landscape photographer Edward Burtynsky.

The link between the peaceful majesty of Cathedral Grove #1 and the crass politics of a $20 carbon tax might not be obvious. But the high school students were at the National Gallery to take in Anthropocene, a major multimedia exhibit based on new Burtynsky photographs that depicts assorted human incursions on the geography of the planet — coal mining, garbage production, logging, oil refining, expressways, marble quarries, underground tunnels.

Trudeau’s simplistic message to the students — and all Canadians — was that a carbon tax will help curtail this ongoing ruination of the Earth. Behind the simple message, however, is a complex tangle of motives, objectives and political wrangling that animate the key players behind the exhibit. Continue Reading →

What does reconciliation mean to Indigenous people? – by Angela Sterritt (CBC News British Columbia – January 3, 2019)

If it means friendly relations or equal access, a new word is needed, leaders say

Reconciliation has emerged as a buzzword in Canada over the last three years. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau even proclaimed a national day of reconciliation in 2018. He’s also pushed his Indigenous rights recognition framework and stirred debate on ending or “decolonizing” the 1876 Indian Act, which gave Ottawa control over most aspects of Indigenous life, from health and education to land.

However, much like the relationship it aims to fix, there is uncertainty about the concept of reconciliation among some Indigenous people in Canada.

Sandlanee Gid, her traditional name, is an instructor of Reconciliation Studies through the University of British Columbia and the Haida Gwaii Higher Education Society. She struggles with the very meaning of the word. Continue Reading →

Northern Exposure: Can the Northwest Passage live up to its billing as a maritime superhighway? – by Naomi Powell (Financial Post – December 19, 2018)

Northern Exposure is a three-part series that examines how a warming Arctic opens up the Northwest Passage and economic opportunities, but also creates headaches.

Ask Tim Keane to recount his voyage through the fabled Northwest Passage and he’ll spend a good bit of time talking about the things that aren’t there.

“The scarcity of traffic, the vastness of the place, the total remoteness, that’s what I remember,” said the manager of Arctic operations for Montreal-based shipping company Fednav. Press him a bit and he’ll tick off some things that are there: “A few whales, loads of birds, the odd seal.”

But four years after the icebreaker Nunavik hauled a belly full of nickel from Deception Bay, Que., to Bayuquan, China — becoming the first unescorted cargo ship to cross the Northwest Passage — what still grabs Keane most about Canada’s Arctic sea route is its emptiness. Continue Reading →

Canada puts Arctic ‘in a snow globe’ as it freezes oil and gas development — just as Norway, Russia accelerate – by Geoffrey Morgan (Financial Post – December 20, 2018)

The following is part two of Northern Exposure, a three-part series that examines how a warming Arctic opens up the Northwest Passage and economic opportunities, but also creates headaches.

The 49-hour drive from FortisBC’s liquefied natural gas facility in Delta, British Columbia to Inuvik, Northwest Territories is not for the faint of heart as it winds through mountain passes and frequent avalanche zones.

Despite the 3,615-kilometre of distance and risks, trucks carrying liquefied natural gas from southern B.C. routinely make the arduous trip to supply the 3,000-person Inuvik, an Arctic outpost close to the Beaufort Sea, with fuel for power generation. An increasing number of remote communities in Canada’s northern region are using LNG as a power source as it’s cheaper and less emissions’ intensive than diesel, which is still widely used.

In the eyes of the Northwest Territories government and the energy industry, it’s painfully ironic that the Beaufort Sea contains an estimated 56 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and 8 billion barrels of oil while remote communities such as Inuvik, Iqaluit and many more rely on LNG or diesel shipped in from southern Canada for power. Continue Reading →

Warming Arctic waters increase shipping challenges already ‘the bane of everyone in the North’ – by Gabriel Friedman (Financial Post – January 2, 2019)

The following is part three of Northern Exposure, a three-part series that examines how a warming Arctic opens up the Northwest Passage and economic opportunities, but also creates headaches.

It’s December in Cambridge Bay, Nunavut, about 20 degrees below freezing on what is considered a warm day, and for the first winter ever Nicole Maksagak thought she would be driving in the comfort of a Ford F-150 pick-up truck. Instead, she’s making at least eight runs per day on her Ski-Doo to take her four children, aged six to 13, to school, commute to work and run errands.

Maksagak said she might feel better on her snowmobile if she didn’t owe so much money on the 2018 Ford. Her truck, however, is stranded more than 1,000 kilometres away in Inuvik — along with critical supplies ordered by businesses and the town of Cambridge Bay — after shipping traffic in the western Arctic unexpectedly stopped early this fall due to poor ice conditions.

“I’ve never seen my vehicle in person, I never even test drove it,” she said. “But I’m paying for it, and I paid for the insurance, plus the registration.” Her situation shows why shipping is such a flashpoint for tension in Arctic communities since a failed arrival of just about anything has cascading consequences. Continue Reading →