Archive | Oil and Gas Sector-Politics and Image

Radical environmentalism has containment problems of its own – by Rex Murphy (National Post – April 21, 2018)

Eco extremists are threatening the economy and even Confederation with their opposition to the Trans Mountain pipeline project

For now your straws and swizzle sticks are safe. Prime Minister Trudeau is not (yet) going along with Britain’s Theresa May in her fierce campaign to ban the drinking straw.

It is a tribute to the wily manoeuvres and insidious influence of the international straw lobby that our PM “refused to be pinned down” and remained “noncommittal” on the menace of the common drinking straw to the planet’s ecosystems. On so grand a question he felt it better to defer till at least a full convocation of the world’s great economies, the G7. Wise man.

It was a severe disappointment to those hoping for Trudeau leadership on the straw cartel. After all, straws are, as one environmentalist noted, just small pipelines for CO2-saturated, atmosphere-degrading soft drinks. “Anyone can stand up to the oil lobby, but the gnomes of the international straw trade … ?” Well, that’s a different set of emissions. Continue Reading →

How B.C. blocking the Kinder Morgan pipeline does damage to us all – by David Olive (Toronto Star – April 21, 2018)

“But the hard reality is that global oil demand is expected
to keep rising between now and 2040, according to the latest
forecast of the Paris-based International Energy Agency (IEA).
Oil not sourced from Athabasca will be obtained from the emirs
of Kuwait, the perpetual conflict zone Nigeria, or the Siberian oilfields
that enrich the kleptocratic regime of Vladimir Putin.”

There’s a strong possibility that the proposed expansion of the Kinder Morgan crude oil pipeline from Alberta’s Athabasca tar sands to the B.C. coast will never be built. And that setback will do no small damage to Canada.

It’s been two weeks since the sponsor of the Ottawa-approved $7.4-billion megaproject, Kinder Morgan Inc., suspended all but essential operations on the pipeline.

Kinder Morgan gave Ottawa until May 31 to persuade the Houston-based company that there will be an end to B.C.’s relentless obstruction of the project. The company noted that B.C. “has been clear and public in its intention to use ‘every tool in its toolbox’ to stop the project.” Continue Reading →

It’s time we stopped using First Nations as anti-development props – by Anthony Furey (Toronto Sun – April 21, 2018)

Last week the Ontario Court of Appeal began hearing a case where a group of Ecuadorian Indigenous peoples are suing Chevron’s Canadian branch in the hopes that a Canadian court will enforce a judgment made by the Ecuadorian government against Chevron’s American parent company.

The case has been dismissed by American courts, been denounced as the “legal fraud of the century” by The Wall Street Journal, and the lawyer behind it was found to have engaged in racketeering.

But it’s no wonder the case has wound its way up to Canada – the original Ecuadorian settlement is $9.5 billion, the largest of its kind. In the unlikely event that they manage to pull it off, that’s quite of lot of cash to go around for the plaintiffs, lawyers and investors who’ve been bankrolling this endeavour. Continue Reading →

Electric vehicles not denting oil demand (IT-Online – April 20, 2018)


Short-term oil demand is still growing strong and will continue to do so through the end of 2020; a trend taking place despite the market’s increasing focus on electric vehicles and the forecasted future plateau in oil demand, according to new analysis from IHS Markit.

Refined product demand growth has averaged 1,2-million barrels per day over the last five years, IHS Markit says in the new report from its oil markets and research team.

Current global total liquids oil demand growth is at similar levels to what was recorded during the 2003 to 2007 commodity super-cycle, referred to as the ‘golden age’ of refining. At present, current global total liquids oil demand is approximately 100-million barrels per day, the report says. Continue Reading →

What do First Nations really think about Trans Mountain? – by Tristan Hopper (National Post – April 19, 2018)

Some love it, some hate it, and some want a better deal

Ask Greenpeace, and they’ll tell you First Nations are eco-warriors bravely protecting the ocean from rapacious pipeline-crazed plutocrats. Ask the Fraser Institute, and they’ll say First Nations are enthusiastic, hard-hatted oilmen who are tired of the “environmentalist propaganda” saying otherwise.

The reality is somewhat more complex. The 1,147-km Trans Mountain pipeline expansion would affect more than 100 First Nations, each with their own unique economy, motivations and feelings about bitumen.

Below, some context for the current state of affairs between oil pipelines and Western Canada’s various First Peoples.

The chief who invited Neil Young and Jane Fonda to Fort McMurray? He supports a pipeline Continue Reading →

The oilpatch has borne the brunt of our pipeline impasse for years. Now it’s the taxpayers’ turn – by Claudia Cattaneo (Financial Post – April 18, 2018)

So far, the bill for Canada’s decade-old pipeline/oilsands insurgency has been disproportionately borne by private companies and their shareholders. With governments in Ottawa and Alberta stepping in at the 11th hour to salvage the last Canadian oil pipeline still in progress, costs and risks are shifting to taxpayers and consumer.

What could they look like?

The federal government and Kinder Morgan Canada Ltd., the owner of the $7.4-billion proposed Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, are now negotiating the cost of keeping the company from walking away, which it has threatened to do because it can’t take British Columbia’s harassment any longer.

The most plausible scenario is that the federal government accepts to de-risk the project so the company is not on the hook for further delays from lawsuits and other disruptive tactics, said retired TransCanada Corp. senior executive Dennis McConaghy. Continue Reading →

In many Indigenous communities, business is booming (CBC Radio Sunday Edition – April 8, 2018)

Business is on the top of the agenda for many First Nations in Canada. 

In boardrooms in Toronto, Calgary, Vancouver and in the offices of First Nations, Indigenous communities are quietly signing deals to develop resources.

Some of these projects are worth hundreds of millions, even billions, of dollars. They have the potential to generate good jobs, skills training, revenue and royalties for Indigenous communities.

And, increasingly, those communities are demanding an equity stake — actual control over projects on their ancestral lands. Chief Corrina Leween remembers when things were much different. Continue Reading →

Canada’s resource industries need to reboot their message – by Tony Coulson (Globe and Mail – April 17, 2018)

In response to a recent shareholder question, Athabasca Oil Corp. chief executive Rob Broen is reported to have stated, “Near as I can tell, we have a tax – we have a carbon tax – but we don’t have a pipeline and the opponents of those pipelines are more entrenched than they’ve ever been.”

Mr. Broen was expressing frustration about the apparent fraying of what many understood as the grand bargain of oil sands development. The bargain was that governments would impose carbon taxes and regulations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and control environmental impacts, while producers would get infrastructure (pipelines) that would let them carry the product to international markets and fetch better prices.

Today, the carbon tax and other environmental measures are a reality, but environmentalists continue to fight the pipeline, and Kinder Morgan, the pipeline’s proponent, has pointedly announced that it’s pausing investment in the project. Continue Reading →

Resource jobs are sustaining Canada’s middle class. Period. – by Kevin Milligan (Globe and Mail – April 17, 2018)

“Moreover, resource-derived tax dollars fill up government coffers to support strong compensation in middle-class public sector jobs in nursing, education and transit. And what’s more, these benefits don’t only help provinces with plentiful resources, since our equalization formula uses the federal purse to top up provinces without comparable resource-revenue streams.”

Kevin Milligan is professor of economics, UBC Vancouver School of Economics. Disclosure: the author has occasionally advised the federal government on tax policy and economic matters.

Opinions on pipelines are flowing around Canada more quickly than the oil. The ultimate decisions on natural resource projects, however, ought to derive from facts.

As an economist studying income inequality over the last 15 years, I can offer a key fact to the debate. In my view, nothing has contributed more than natural resources to buttressing the Canadian middle class against the rapidly changing global economy of the 21st century.

The importance of resources to middle-class incomes is most clearly seen by looking at a simple measure: the earnings of the middle worker in the economy (the median). Between 2000 and 2015, Canadian median earnings rose by just 6 per cent after inflation, or less than half a per cent a year. Continue Reading →

Goldman Sachs Says You Must Own Commodities in These Tense Times – by Pratish Narayanan (Bloomberg News – April 13, 2018)

The case for owning commodities has rarely been stronger, according to Goldman Sachs Group Inc. With raw materials rallying on escalating political tensions across the globe and economic growth remaining strong, the bank’s analysts including Jeffrey Currie doubled down on their “overweight” recommendation.

They reiterated a view that commodities will yield returns of 10 percent over the next 12 months, according to an April 12 note.

The Bloomberg Commodity Index is up more than 2.5 percent this week, the most in two months. Another raw materials gauge, the S&P GSCI Index, has rallied over 5 percent this week to levels last seen in 2014. Continue Reading →

Carrots won’t do with John Horgan — it’s time for the Prime Minister to use the stick – by Claudia Cattaneo (Financial Post – April 14, 2018)

As Prime Minister Justin Trudeau heads into a long-overdue meeting Sunday with the premiers of British Columbia and Alberta to resolve the Trans Mountain pipeline crisis, it’s important to remember one thing: British Columbia Premier John Horgan has no leverage and is all bluster.

Offering more carrots won’t do because Horgan will simply stomp all over them. Unfortunately, the Prime Minister’s only alternative is the stick — and he must tell Horgan he’s prepared to use it.

On the legal front, Horgan is emerging as an emperor with no clothes on the $7.4 billion project, which he wants to stop at any cost because his minority government depends on three Green MLAs to stay in power. Continue Reading →

First Nations deserve to be consulted on Trans Mountain — and they have been – by John Ivison (National Post – April 14, 2018)

It is a grim irony that a Liberal government elected on a promise of renewing relations with First Nations based on “trust, respect and the true spirit of co-operation” is now being accused by some Indigenous chiefs in British Columbia of provoking a new Oka crisis.

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, president of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs, believes Justin Trudeau’s promise to build the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion ignores the inherent right of Indigenous people to free, prior and informed consent for resource projects.

“If the federal government tries to ram through the pipeline, it could mean going back to one of the darkest times in modern Canadian history: the Oka stand-off with the Mohawk Nation,” he wrote this week in an opinion article in the Globe and Mail, invoking the violent conflict that took place in Quebec in 1990 and that still makes federal politicians break out in cold sweats. Continue Reading →

B.C. is trying to divide our nation. Here’s how Trudeau can stop it – by Perrin Beatty (Financial Post – April 12, 2018)

Ottawa must take concrete steps to show leadership and resolve the standoff with B.C.

In 2018, Canada marked its 150th anniversary with activities that brought us together to celebrate our history and to consider our bright future as a nation. Just months later, however, Canadians are confronted with an issue that goes to the very core of our understanding of what Canada is: are we one country, or thirteen?

This is not an academic question. The B.C. government’s attempt to halt Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain Expansion project poses a direct challenge to the federal government’s authority, undermines Canada’s regulatory processes and divides our country along the Rocky Mountains.

Trans Mountain received federal approval after an extensive, rigorous, scientifically valid review with input from thousands of stakeholders. At the end of that process, Kinder Morgan accepted the numerous federal and provincial conditions imposed on the project. Continue Reading →

Why a pipeline could cost Justin Trudeau the next election – by Gary Mason (Globe and Mail – April 13, 2018)

It wasn’t long ago that the thought of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau being a one-term wonder would have been unthinkable. Not any more.

A confluence of issues and events – hello, India! – have reshaped the Liberal Leader’s image in the unkindest of ways. However, it’s his government’s contentious environmental agenda, and his handling of the dispute over the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, which have shaken the confidence and trust many Canadians had in him to lead the country.

As things stand now, the federal Liberals very well may be wiped out completely in the Prairies, while perhaps getting a seat or two in Metro Vancouver. Maybe. Such is the level of animosity that has enveloped Mr. Trudeau’s environmental plan, especially with the national carbon tax that he’s attempting to bring in. But people in the West are equally furious over the Prime Minister’s handling of the pipeline conflict between B.C. and Alberta. Continue Reading →

With almost nothing left to lose, Albertans rise up against Ottawa’s empty pipeline promises – by Claudia Cattaneo (Financial Post – April 12, 2018)

This is no Vancouver, where demonstrators are on speed dial. This is the heart of the tight-lipped oil industry, where many never showed up at a rally before

With almost no pipelines left to lose, Albertans of all backgrounds and political persuasions are uniting and rising against years of what they perceive as unfair treatment by the federal Liberal government and its eco-activist partners.

They are showing the tide is turning against Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s strategy of transitioning Canada away from oil and gas – which has killed oil and gas investment, jobs, economic growth, and is now threatening the last oilpatch lifeline, the proposed Trans Mountain pipeline expansion – while he prioritizes climate change policy and carbon taxes. The next chapter is uncharted political territory.

That pent-up anger spilled over at a Calgary rally in support of the Trans Mountain pipeline Tuesday and is expected to continue at a rally in Edmonton Thursday at the Alberta legislature. Continue Reading →