Archive | Oil and Gas Sector-Politics and Image

OPINION: The oil geo-political risk premium that should never have disappeared is suddenly back – by Eric Reguly (Globe and Mail – September 17, 2019)

The weekend attack on an enormous Saudi crude oil-processing plant reintroduces a key factor – a geopolitical risk premium – that had largely disappeared from the price. The premium could remain permanent if any next attack were to take out a giant oil field. This one did not.

The skillful attack on the Abqaiq plant, which prepares crude for delivery in pipelines by removing its sulphur and other guck, and the nearby Khurais oil field put the vulnerability of Saudi oil infrastructure on full and instant display.

Drones, or possibly cruise missiles, hit several big tanks at Abqaiq and other equipment, sending clouds of black smoke billowing upward. The Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen took credit for the damage, though U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, without supporting his claim with evidence, placed the blame squarely on Iran even though some reports said the attacks may have come from Iraq or from within Saudi Arabia. Continue Reading →

Oil prices jump after drone attack slashes Saudi production in half – by Jeffrey Jones (Globe and Mail – September 16, 2019)

Oil prices surged after a weekend attack on oil operations in Saudi Arabia significantly cut crude output and raised fears of escalating military tensions in the region.

Drone strikes caused explosions and fires at two of the kingdom’s key production and processing facilities and slashed its oil production by more than half. Yemen’s Houthi rebel group claimed responsibility for the attacks, which revealed the vulnerability of the Middle East’s largest oil producer.

State oil company Saudi Aramco said production had been cut by 5.7 million barrels a day – a volume equating to more than 5 per cent of global demand and more than all of Canada’s output. Officials said the company hoped to restore about a third of that by early this week. Continue Reading →

Franco-Nevada chairman slams big miners’ exodus from Canada – Andrew Bell interviews Pierre Lassonde (BNN/Bloomberg News – September 13, 2019)

Franco-Nevada Corp. Chairman Pierre Lassonde is sounding the alarm on the hollowing out of Canada’s big mining companies.

Lassonde, who will step down from his role and become chairman emeritus next year, said he’s “very sorry” that large miners are moving their headquarters outside of Canada, and bemoaned the impact it could have on the whole industry. Continue Reading →

Why don’t the Liberals just declare the Trans Mountain charade over? – by Rex Murphy (National Post – September 7, 2019)

Stop this pantomime that must be driving every Albertan wild with frustration and way past anger

Were you to suppose that the purpose of current national energy policy was to chase Alberta out of Confederation (with a big knotty stick), you would have hit up a dismayingly plausible, perhaps the only plausible, explanation for the remorseless stream of blunders, stumbles, harassments, blockades, protests and court rulings that have constituted said “policy” over recent years.

Certainly more plausible than anything that has escaped the lips of Justin Trudeau recently, anything to be found in the endless tweets of climate crusader Catherine McKenna over the past four years, or in the vapid pronunciamentos, post-Trans Mountain appeals case, of Minister Sohi in the past four days.

We have a government that gets passionate about “single-use” plastics, but is comatose on the cardinal industry of a First-World democracy. The government has scotched every pipeline, proposed or considered, East or West, with the dispatch and efficiency of the better assassins (i.e., unlike the “hitchhiker” would-be assassin someone took to India). Continue Reading →

WHERE WAS THE WORLD’S FIRST OIL WELL? POLAND! – by Karsten Eig (Adventures in Geology – November 3, 2017)


The first oil well in the world was drilled by Colonel Edwin Drake in Pennsylvania, Cowboyland, in 1859. Everyone in the oil industry, and probably every American child, know the story of how Colonel Drake knocked the well 21 meters down, hit pay and changed the world.

But, no, it wasn’t. The first oil wells in the world were dug a few years earlier in the Old World, in southern Poland. The hill landscape of southern Poland lies at the toe of the Carpathian Mountains. With rolling hills, forests and farm land, it reminds of Tuscany, moved north.

But in the 1850s, this land was not a part of Poland, because there was no Poland. Through the late half of the 18th century, the grand Polish-Lithuanian kingdom, which had covered large parts of the Baltics, Poland, Belarus and Ukraine, was cut and shared like a cake by the mighty powers around it. Continue Reading →

Court allows legal challenge against Trans Mountain just as construction resumes on pipeline – by Justine Hunter and Jeffrey Jones (Globe and Mail – September 5, 2019)

The federal Court of Appeal has allowed a legal challenge to the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion project to proceed, just as construction – delayed by earlier court battles – is resuming both in British Columbia and Alberta.

A judicial review will determine whether Ottawa has adequately consulted with Indigenous communities about the project. The court, in a ruling released Wednesday, denied applications for a review on environmental matters, but ecology groups say they are now considering an appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada.

The court was emphatic that opposition to the pipeline, led by six First Nations communities, is not legal grounds to stop the $7.4-billion expansion project. But, in an unusually prescriptive ruling, the court has directed an expedited hearing to determine if there are grounds to overturn the project for a second time. Continue Reading →

Trans Mountain pipeline construction to restart, but prospective buyers stay on sidelines – by Geoffrey Morgan (Financial Post – August 21, 2019)

CALGARY – Construction is poised to restart on the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion but even as activity ramps up, at least one prospective buyer — Pembina Pipeline Corp., fresh off its purchase of Kinder Morgan Inc.’s remaining Canadian business — said it’s not interested for now in “the noise” of the controversial pipeline.

Trans Mountain Corp. announced Wednesday that construction would re-start imminently in multiple communities along the pipeline route and the project would be in service, delivering 590,000 barrels of oil per day from Alberta to the West Coast, by the middle of 2022.

The company said that by the end of the year, 4,200 people would be working on the pipeline project. “Clearly this project has been subjected to numerous delays and setbacks over the past several years,” Trans Mountain president and CEO Ian Anderson said in a release. Continue Reading →

Billionaire Koch brothers dump Canada’s oilsands leases as foreign exodus continues – by Geoffrey Morgan (Financial Post – August 15, 2019)

CALGARY – Once among the largest landholders in the oilsands, industrial conglomerate Koch Industries Inc. has sold off its upstream leases and abandoned licences in the heavy oil play, joining a stream of foreign companies exiting the bitumen-bearing formation.

Wichita, Kan.-based Koch Industries struck an agreement to sell thousands of hectares of land in the oilsands to Calgary-based Cavalier Energy Inc., a subsidiary of the Riddell family-controlled Paramount Resources Ltd., in a transaction that occurred in June, the Financial Post has confirmed.

Koch, one of the world’s largest private companies owned by American billionaires and Republican donors Charles and David Koch, has also abandoned the licences it did not sell in the transaction with Paramount and has been allowing its leases in the play to expire. Continue Reading →

Apparently world-savers don’t need to worry about the little people – by Rex Murphy (National Post – August 10, 2019)

Green Leader Elizabeth May’s plan to ‘transition’ the entire oil and gas industry’s workforce, without consulting them, is frightening

Every little world-saver, and the big ones, too, are stars in their own private movie. They write and direct as well. The script never changes. They, and they alone, see a world in menace; they and they alone know, absolutely know, what the danger is and what the world must — must — do to avoid collapse and devastation.

And that salvation always — always — means they must be granted the power to change the world and all it does, so that their vision and certitude can be validated.

Frequent world-saver Naomi Klein has a cause every half-decade, but the title of one of her books in particular, gives the trend: This Changes Everything. Naturally she was on about global warming, being the universal queen bee of protest politics. Continue Reading →

Environmental concerns could dash Teck’s hopes of building massive oilsands mine – by Geoffrey Morgan (Financial Post – July 27, 2019)

CALGARY – Regulators have recommended the federal government approve Teck Resources Ltd.’s massive new oilsands mine that could help reverse a trend of declining investment in the heavy oil formation, though analysts have been skeptical new mining projects can ever be built in the play given emissions limits and stringent regulatory reviews.

The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency and the Alberta Energy Regulator announced late Thursday they were recommending Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna approve Frontier, a massive new oilsands mining project by the Vancouver-based miner, with the capacity to produce 85,000 barrels of oil per day by 2026, with future phases taking total output to 260,000 bpd by 2037.

While the two agencies determined the project was in the public interest, they also withheld approvals for parts of the project on Big Creek, a waterway in the area, and made its approval contingent on 62 different conditions. Continue Reading →

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 →