Archive | Oil and Gas Sector-Politics and Image

Stop the regulatory pancaking – by Robert Lyman (Financial Post – July 28, 2020)

New regulations will only stall billion-dollar energy and transportation projects at precisely the time when economic stimulus is most needed

This month the federal government published new guidelines governing the environmental assessment of the climate effects of certain major projects, including all pipelines, electricity transmission lines, mines and metal mills, nuclear facilities, oil and gas production projects, hydro plants, airports and ports.

The guidelines prescribe how project proponents and the Canadian Impact Assessment Agency are to conduct a “strategic assessment of climate change.”

As a result, proponents will face a daunting set of information and process requirements at each phase of the impact assessment. Projects with a lifetime likely to extend beyond 2050 must provide a plan describing how they will achieve “net-zero emissions” by 2050. Continue Reading →

OPINION: Environmentalists’ new tack signals even more difficult era for pipelines – by Eric Reguly (Globe and Mail – July 10, 2020)

Environmentalists have taken a new, and clever, tack in their war against the hydrocarbon economy. As well as going after the companies that pump oil and natural gas, they are going after the companies that transport those products – the pipelines.

And they’re winning. In the past week, three big pipeline projects have taken severe blows.

On Monday, a U.S. federal judge ruled that the Dakota Access Pipeline, which had been in operation and was taking oil from North Dakota to Illinois, must shut down while a new environmental review is conducted. Construction of the pipeline, which is partly owned by Canada’s Enbridge, was fiercely opposed by Native American groups. Continue Reading →

OPINION: U.S. ruling on Dakota Access shows pipeline battles are never really over – by Jeffrey Jones (Globe and Mail – July 7, 2020)

It took a whole weekend to see the very real risks that still lurk for the Keystone XL oil pipeline in its epic quest for approval in the United States.

A U.S. judge’s decision on Monday to rescind the permit for another contentious pipeline shows that even having a project up and running is no guarantee that it is immune from legal challenges. Alberta taxpayers have to keep this in mind now that they are on the hook for US$1.1-billion of Keystone XL, which faces its own battle in the courts.

On Friday, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney travelled to the small eastern Alberta town of Oyen to announce the start of construction of the Canadian portion of the pipeline and to proclaim that his government will “leave no stone unturned” in its efforts to see the project overcome its U.S. legal hurdles and get built. Continue Reading →

Supreme Court rejects Indigenous groups’ appeal to halt Trans Mountain expansion – by Emma Graney (Globe and Mail – July 3, 2020)

Three British Columbia Indigenous groups have vowed to keep fighting the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion after they were dealt a major legal blow on Thursday, when the Supreme Court of Canada decided it would not hear their appeal of the project’s approval.

The groups said the top court’s decision – posted on the Supreme Court website without further detail – threatens not just their traditional lands but the very fabric of reconciliation in Canada.

The Coldwater Indian Band, Squamish Nation and Tsleil-Waututh Nation sought leave to appeal in April, after the Federal Court of Appeal ruled that cabinet’s approval of the pipeline project in June, 2019, was reasonable under the law. Continue Reading →

Want richer First Nations? Say ‘yes’ to pipelines – by Mark Milke and Lennie Kaplan (Financial Post – July 2, 2020)

Mark Milke is executive director of research and Lennie Kaplan chief research analyst at the Canadian Energy Centre, an Alberta government corporation funded in part by taxes paid by industry on carbon emissions.

According to the 2016 census, 380,000 Indigenous Canadians live on reserve, many of them far from the economic opportunities that cities provide.

Given concerns about economic conditions on many reserves, one of this era‘s most pressing policy problems is how to provide economic opportunity to First Nations far from urban centres.

One answer: Allow the natural resource economy on or near First Nations to flourish. A perfect example is underway in British Columbia, with the construction of the Coastal GasLink pipeline. Continue Reading →

More than ever, Canada needs a national infrastructure corridor – by Ted Morton (Calgary Herald – June 27, 2020)

“But today that prosperity is at risk. Five years of anti-energy,
anti-western and anti-growth policies from the Trudeau Liberals
have decimated Alberta’s economy.”

This month marks the 90th anniversary of the Natural Resources Transfer Agreement, the constitutional reform that created the economic foundation for the dynamic and prosperous Alberta of the past six decades.

Alberta and Saskatchewan achieved provincial status in 1905, but NOT on equal terms. Ownership of Crown (public) lands and natural resources were not granted to the two new provinces.

This was a radical departure from the practice in the rest of Canada, under which all other provinces did control their own natural resources. We were officially second-class provinces. Continue Reading →

‘An absolute boom’ for Alberta: Is plastic fantastic again in the age of coronavirus? – by Geoffrey Morgan (Financial Post – May 13, 2020)

CALGARY — Fears of coronavirus contagion and depressed commodity prices have gutted much of Alberta’s economy but there is one sector experiencing a surge: the province’s petrochemical sector, which produces a range of plastic inputs used in medical devices and packaging of everyday goods.

“Demand so far has been steady. While we have seen some cancelled orders, we are experiencing increased demand for many grades of polyethylene to meet the needs of essential businesses, especially food packaging, e-commerce and medical packaging,” NOVA Chemicals Corp.’s senior vice-president John Thayer said in an emailed statement to the Financial Post.

Thayer said the Calgary-based company, which is owned by UAE’s sovereign wealth fund Mubadala Investment Company, is operating its facilities in Canada at full capacity. Continue Reading →

The post-pandemic fallout threatens to reverse a decade of energy security gains – by Peter Tertzakian (Financial Post – May 20, 2020)

On Monday U.S. President Trump tweeted that “OIL (ENERGY) IS BACK!!!!” He’s right: oil is no longer being given away for free. Benchmark prices have clawed their way above US$30-a-barrel for the first time since early April. But few would be convinced that THE NORTH AMERICAN OIL INDUSTRY IS BACK!!!!

The devastating effects of the pandemic — forced production shut-ins could put Canada and the United States on a regressive path toward dependency on “foreign oil,” a historically disparaging term.

Let’s flip the calendar back to 2008 or so. The United States had sent about 150,000 troops to Iraq, where the post-Saddam-Hussein war was still raging. America was “addicted to oil” as President George W. Bush had proclaimed. At the high point of U.S. dependency, in 2008, about two-thirds of that addiction was fed by imported oil. Excessive dependency on foreign oil was also costly. Continue Reading →

OPINION: The Wet’suwet’en deal could be a recipe for disaster – by Gary Mason (Globe and Mail – May 27, 2020)

When we last left the great pipeline dispute involving the Wet’suwet’en Nation, governments in Ottawa and B.C. were trying to bring calm to an ugly feud that had ignited railway blockades across the country.

Then the COVID-19 pandemic struck, and the imbroglio suddenly seemed like a far less urgent priority.

As it turns out, however, the disagreement that began when a small group of Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs and their supporters obstructed construction of the Coastal GasLink pipeline in northern B.C. was not being entirely ignored. On the contrary, an extraordinary deal was being worked out between the two levels of government and a handful of Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs that has the capacity to fundamentally alter politics in this country forever. Continue Reading →

Alberta gears up for another legal battle over Keystone XL after Biden vows to pull permissions – by Geoffrey Morgan (Financial Post – May 20, 2020)

CALGARY — Alberta Premier Jason Kenney said he is prepared to go to court anf file a free-trade lawsuit alongside TC Energy Corp. if Joe Biden becomes president and follows through with his promise to pull permits on the Keystone XL pipeline.

Construction work on the US$14.4-billion Keystone XL pipeline began in April but fresh opposition from the U.S. Democratic presidential nominee could scuttle the long-delayed pipeline once again.

Biden’s election campaign signalled over the weekend that, if the former U.S. vice-president takes the White House this November, he would withdraw presidential permits for the Alberta to U.S. Gulf Coast pipeline Keystone XL. Continue Reading →

‘A complete disaster’: Investors take aim at Teck CEO Don Lindsay after commodity cycle misses – by Gabriel Friedman (Financial Post – May 20, 2020)

Days after Teck Resources Ltd. publicly pulled the plug in February on Frontier, a proposed $20.5-billion mine in the oilsands, one of the company’s largest investors started a campaign to oust the company’s chief executive, Don Lindsay.

Bob Bishop, founder of Impala Asset Management, a Florida-based resource focused hedge fund, which has been a shareholder since 2016, wrote a letter in late February to the board; and then a few days later, just before coronavirus halted all air travel, he flew to Toronto to deliver his message in person to the company’s chair Sheila Murray: It’s time for Lindsay to go.

For Bishop, whose firm owned 1.9 per cent of Teck’s Class B shares at year end, oil was proving to be another mistake in a long line of miscalculations: Teck invested $1.1 billion in Frontier, one of the largest greenfield oil projects ever imagined in Canada, before it abruptly withdrew from the permitting process. Continue Reading →

OPINION: Pretending oil is dead makes bad climate policy – by Campbell Clark (Globe and Mail – May 19, 2020)

The problem with Elizabeth May’s warning that “oil is dead” is not just that she’s wrong. It is that she ignored the lesson that the coronavirus crisis offered about oil, and reducing greenhouse-gas emissions.

There was a strange triumphalism in Ms. May’s obituary for the Canadian oil industry, when she said “the idea that we’ve got this product that everyone wants is delusional.”

That sparked angry reaction from the oil patch, but it is climate-change activists who should tell Ms. May she got it wrong. Continue Reading →

Canadian oil still has a future, even if Elizabeth May can’t see it – by Max Fawcett (National Post – May 12, 2020)

There may not be a French translation for the word “chutzpah,” but that doesn’t mean that Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet can’t summon it.

Case in point: his recent suggestion that the federal government shouldn’t prop up oil and gas businesses “that will not be self-sufficient in any time in the future.”

You could almost hear Albertans choking on their indignation when he said that, given Quebec’s storied history of propping up businesses whose own lack of self-sufficiency is a matter of public record. Continue Reading →

Liberals best to ignore certain politicians who wish Canadian oil were ‘dead’ – by John Ivison (National Post – May 8, 2020)

Elizabeth May has provoked outrage by claiming “oil is dead.” It is not entirely clear why. It’s like the Pope proclaiming the Bible as the fount of spirituality.

May is the country’s environmental conscience — the demise of fossil fuels is an article of faith for her. But she is guilty of wishful thinking. The Canadian oil industry is not dead yet — in fact, it may be getting better.

In an article in Policy Magazine, May claimed Canadian oil is a “product lacking investors.” Yet, at the annual general meeting of Barclays PLC in London on Thursday, shareholders of the giant European bank voted down a proposal by Share Action, an activist group that promotes “responsible” investing, to quit the Canadian oilpatch. Continue Reading →

Global energy demand sinks through the floor as the world stays home – by Emma Graney (Globe and Mail – April 30, 2020)

Global demand for energy wiped out by the COVID-19 pandemic is “without precedent,” with March oil consumption alone plummeting by a record 10.8 million barrels a day, according to an International Energy Agency analysis of the past 100 days of the pandemic.

Total energy demand declined by 3.8 per cent in the first quarter of 2020, and IEA director Fatih Birol expects oil to take “months, maybe years” to return to prepandemic levels.

While the world will “still need oil in years to come,” Dr. Birol told The Globe and Mail from Paris on Wednesday that the extreme economic and demand shock caused by the pandemic will likely plunge consumption of crude this year to 2012 levels. Continue Reading →