Archive | Oil and Gas Sector-Politics and Image

Alberta’s oilpatch may help fill global lithium shortage – by Danielle Smith (Edmonton Journal – July 12, 2019)

Earlier this year, Tesla executives warned that the world may soon be facing a critical shortage of minerals and metals needed to build batteries, in particular nickel, copper and lithium.

Cobalt is also going to be a growing problem not only because of scarcity, but because it seems the only place it can be mined in great abundance is through the help of child labour in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

If the great transition to renewables is to take place, the world needs to find and develop more and better sources of these key battery components. When it comes to lithium, Alberta oilfields may hold the answer. Continue Reading →

The ‘fraud of the century’ finally reaches the end of the line after clogging up our court system for 7 years – by Peter Foster (Financial Post – July 11, 2019)

The most baseless of cases — especially if they involve the words ‘Indigenous’ and ‘environment’ — can tie up business for years

After clogging up the Canadian court system for seven years, an utterly corrupt multibillion-dollar lawsuit against California-based oil company Chevron on behalf of “poor Ecuadorean villagers” was finally dismissed by the Ontario Superior Court of Justice last Friday.

The suit, dubbed “the fraud of the century” by The Wall Street Journal, related to pollution caused by Texaco — a company that Chevron acquired in 2001 — when Texaco had been operating in Ecuador before 1992.

In fact, Texaco had paid for — and the Ecuadorean government had agreed to — remediation payments, but then a buccaneering American lawyer named Steve Donziger got into the act. A classmate of Barack Obama, Donziger engineered a US$9.5-billion judgment against Chevron in Ecuador. He had no trouble recruiting then-Ecuadorean president Rafael Correa to the cause. Continue Reading →

OPINION: Why Murray Edwards keeps investing in Alberta’s oil sands – by Andrew Willis (Globe and Mail – July 9, 2019)

In one of the great contrarian investments of our time, billionaires such as Murray Edwards and Li Ka-Shing are pouring money into Alberta’s oil sands.

While foreign energy companies were selling their oil-sands holdings and investors were purging domestic energy stocks from their portfolios, Mr. Edwards’s Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. (CNRL) and Li family-controlled Husky Energy Inc. have increased their stakes in the region.

As part of a massive shift in ownership that has seen more than $37-billion of oil-sands assets change hands, CNRL dropped $16.5-billion to acquire properties from Devon Energy Corp. and Shell Canada Ltd., while Husky spent US$435-million on a heavy oil refinery last summer. Both companies are expected to keep investing. Continue Reading →

Alberta to probe funding of anti-pipeline environmental groups with $2.5-million inquiry – by Justin Giovannetti (Globe and Mail – July 5, 2019)

Alberta is launching a public inquiry into the foreign funding of environmentalists, tackling a long-standing grievance among Canada’s conservative politicians that money from abroad has paid for a campaign to effectively block resource development.

Premier Jason Kenney, who announced the $2.5-million inquiry on Thursday, argued foreign groups and billionaires have been funding Canadian organizations for years to spread misleading information as part of a widespread and co-ordinated campaign against pipelines and Alberta’s energy sector. A number of the groups named by the Premier dismissed his claim as a fabrication.

“For more than a decade, Alberta has been the target of a well-funded, political propaganda campaign to defame our energy industry and to landlock our resources,” Mr. Kenney told reporters in Calgary, flanked by his justice and energy ministers. Continue Reading →

Krause questions why Trudeau changed charity laws for activists – by Licia Corbella (Calgary Herald – July 4, 2019)

Why did Prime Minister Justin Trudeau order his revenue minister to stop the Canada Revenue Agency from auditing politically active charities? Was it to protect his best friend and former principal secretary, Gerald Butts?

Those are just two of the many questions asked by Vivian Krause during a sold out Calgary Chamber of Commerce luncheon Wednesday at the Fairmont Palliser Hotel and during a scrum with reporters afterwards.

Krause, the Vancouver-based researcher who has single-handedly exposed the foreign-funded campaign to “land-lock Alberta crude” — which Alberta Premier Jason Kenney vows to hold a public inquiry into — pointed out that her popular blog and Twitter account are called Fair Questions, because she doesn’t claim to have all of the answers. Continue Reading →

Trudeau’s Trans Mountain nightmare could end with indigenous-led $6.9-billion offer for majority stake – by Nia Williams and Rod Nickel (Financial Post/Reuters – July 3, 2019)

A deal ahead of October election could ease criticism over broken promises on the environment and indigenous rights

CALGARY — An indigenous-led group plans to offer to buy a majority stake in the Trans Mountain oil pipeline from the Canadian government this week or next, a deal that could help Prime Minister Justin Trudeau mitigate election-year criticism from environmentalists.

The group, called Project Reconciliation, aims to submit the $6.9 billion offer as early as Friday, managing director Stephen Mason told Reuters, and start negotiations with Ottawa two weeks later.

Project Reconciliation said the investment will alleviate First Nations poverty, a watershed for indigenous people who have historically watched Canada’s resources enrich others. Continue Reading →

A rapid transition from fossil fuels? No way — here’s why – by Peter Shawn Taylor (National Post – June 29, 2019)

Throughout history, new energy sources have largely been added to traditional supplies rather than replacing them entirely

Here’s a story popular with anyone claiming we have just 11 years to phase out fossil fuels or face the end of our world. (Or 31 years if 2050, rather than 2030, is your preferred doomsday.)

England once found itself in an energy crisis back in the mid-1500s. Rising demand for wood for home heating and industrial use was stripping forests bare. Plus, the Royal Navy was having a hard time sourcing mighty oak trees for its ships.

So, Queen Elizabeth I passed a decree. “The monarchy declared that coal shall be burned, and the kingdom made it so,” reports a recent University of Alberta publication on the history of energy transitions. “There were fears and protests and new challenges … but people adapted, even flourished.” Continue Reading →

Peru native groups use new legal strategy to push back on oil, mining plans – by Maria Cervantes (Reuters U.K. – June 27, 2019)

LIMA (Reuters) – Indigenous groups in Peru are turning to the courts with a new legal strategy for keeping mining and oil projects off their land, racking up victories that could make it harder for companies to secure permits in the major minerals producer.

Native communities from the Peruvian Amazon and the Andes have filed at least eight lawsuits against the government since passage of the so-called “prior consultation” law in 2011, which gives them the right to weigh in on official decisions that could affect them, according to judicial documents.

The law, based on an international pact Peru signed in 1993, aimed to grant overdue rights to indigenous people and prevent deadly clashes over mining and energy projects. Continue Reading →

Controversial bills C-69 and C-48 to become law, one day after Senate enforces Arctic offshore oil ban – by Jesse Snyder (National Post – June 21, 2019)

OTTAWA — The Senate passed into law two controversial natural resource bills Thursday evening, just one day after it quietly passed a third bill that reinforced a ban on offshore oil drilling in the Canadian Arctic, quashing any future oil and gas development in the region.

Bill C-48, which would legally enforce a moratorium on oil tankers in northern B.C., is now set to receive royal assent after it was accepted at third reading in the Senate late Thursday.

Bill C-69, which would overhaul the environmental review process for major projects, also passed a third reading. Their passage enshrines the bills in Canadian law, ending more than a year of fierce opposition from the natural resources sector and some provinces. “This phase of the battle is over,” Independent Sen. Doug Black, who was opposed to C-69, said in a final speech before the final vote on the bill. Continue Reading →

Liberal government approves $9.3B Trans Mountain expansion project, but critics say it’s too little too late – by Jesse Snyder (National Post – June 19, 2019)

Criticism of the Trudeau Liberals shifted on Tuesday toward whether the publicly-owned project will now meet its tight construction schedule

OTTAWA — The federal government has announced it is moving ahead with the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, ending months of speculation over the development and offering some relief to the embattled oil and gas sector amid a years-long pipeline bottleneck.

“We have been assured by the company that their plan is to start construction this summer,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said of Trans Mountain Tuesday, just after his cabinet re-approved the project. “There is still a number of immediate steps to do in terms of permitting, but the pipeline is to have shovels in the ground this summer.”

The government did not provide an updated timeline on Tuesday, but past estimates suggest the project could be completed around 2022 or 2023. Trans Mountain Corporation, the Crown corporation building the project, still needs to secure a number of regulatory permits before the expansion can be entirely completed, including certain permits for railway crossings and species protections. Continue Reading →

Trans Mountain approval a high wire act on which Trudeau is staking his future – by John Ivison (National Post – June 19, 2019)

The accusation that climate leaders don’t build pipelines stings and Trudeau is a reluctant proponent of Canadian crude

The Trans Mountain pipeline expansion lives — at least until the next court challenge. Justin Trudeau was flanked by his most senior cabinet ministers as he announced his government has approved TMX, the twinning of the pipeline between Alberta and British Columbia.

The project, which was blocked last year by the Federal Court of Appeal, is back. Trudeau said the government acted on the court’s directive, ordering the National Energy Board to examine the impact TMX could have on the marine environment and redoubling efforts to consult with Indigenous communities.

Last October, the government re-launched those consultations, under the direction of former Supreme Court justice Frank Iacobucci, and eventually concluded that Canada had met its duty to consult. Continue Reading →

OPINION: A high-stakes game of chicken is playing out in the Gulf of Oman – by Dennis Horak (Globe and Mail – June 17, 2019)

Dennis Horak was Canada’s ambassador to Saudi Arabia until he was expelled in August, 2018. He was also head of mission in Iran from 2009-12.

Thursday’s attack on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman was a dangerous escalation in the game of high-stakes chicken that has been playing out in that volatile region.

U.S. Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, has pointed the finger squarely at Iran, citing intelligence, the weapons used and Iran’s known capabilities. The U.S. has also taken the unusual step of releasing a video of an Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps vessel alongside one of the ships, apparently removing an unexploded limpet mine, to back up its allegations.

The U.S. position in directing blame to Iran is compelling. Iran has the motivation, the capability and the form. Tehran is feeling the heat of the U.S. policy of maximum pressure and they are clearly growing ever more anxious for relief by whichever means they can get it. Continue Reading →

Metals mines association, accounting for most federal enviro assessments, OK with Bill C-69 (Canadian Press/CBC News – June 13, 2019)

New bill gives more clarity and flexibility in assessment process says mining association head

The head of the Mining Association of Canada says the hotly contested federal environmental assessment bill is welcome in the industry it will affect the most.

“This promises to be a better system than what we’ve had for the last seven years,” said Pierre Gratton, the president of the association.

Bill C-69 overhauls Canada’s environmental assessment regime for major national resource and transportation projects but the high-octane opposition from the oil and gas sector has drowned out much of the comment from other affected industries. Continue Reading →

OPINION: What national unity crisis? Even Quebec thinks C-69 is a bad bill – by Konrad Yakabuski (Globe and Mail – June 13, 2019)

If there is one principle on which Canadians agree it is that their province owns the natural resources within its borders. If there was ever any doubt, it was settled with the adoption of the 1982 Constitution Act, which explicitly recognizes provincial control over non-renewable resources, forestry and electrical energy. Ottawa oversees only inland and coastal fisheries.

Hence, there can be no national-unity crisis over a subject that unites Canadians. Whether they live in Newfoundland, Quebec, Northern Ontario, British Columbia or points in between, Canadians believe it’s up to their provincial government, not Ottawa, to oversee resource development – from B.C. natural-gas fields and Quebec hydropower to Ontario’s Ring of Fire.

So, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is wrong in insinuating that the six provincial and territorial premiers who this week wrote to him to express their opposition to Bill C-69 are “threatening our national unity if they don’t get their way.” Continue Reading →

OPINION: For some First Nations, pipelines can be a lifeline – by Tom Flanagan (Globe and Mail – June 13, 2019)

Tom Flanagan is professor emeritus of political science at the University of Calgary and a senior fellow of the Fraser Institute. He is the author of the newly released report, How First Nations Benefit from Pipeline Construction for the Fraser Institute.

On June 18, when the federal cabinet discusses whether to proceed with the Trans Mountain pipeline, they should bear in mind the real interests and opinions of many First Nations. The highly visible opposition of some British Columbia First Nations to pipeline construction has created the impression that all Indigenous people are opposed.

That impression, however, is false. Forty-three First Nations and other Indigenous groups support Trans Mountain, while only 12 signalled their opposition in the Tsleil-Waututh litigation on the project.

Apart from the clan leaders of the Wet’suwet’en, 20 First Nations along the route of the Coastal GasLink pipeline, which has been planned to feed LNG exports from Kitimat, endorse that proposal. Continue Reading →