David Frum: Stopping Keystone XL won’t save the planet – David Frum (National Post – November 12, 2011)

The National Post is Canada’s second largest national paper.

Oil from Canada offers the United States energy security into the indefinite future.

The proposed Keystone XL pipeline from Alberta to refineries on the Gulf of Mexico coast offered the immediate promise of 20,000 American construction jobs and many more jobs in oil refining and distribution.

Yet this week, the Obama administration delayed approval of the Keystone pipeline into 2013 — a delay that may well kill the project altogether, at great financial loss. Why?

One theory credits local opposition in the state of Nebraska, by Nebraskans who worry that a fractured pipeline might spill oil and contaminate the state’s aquifer. Nebraska is one of two states that splits its electoral votes, and in 2008 Nebraska contributed one to Barack Obama’s 365 electoral-vote landslide. Supposedly, Obama is eager to protect that single vote.

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‘Keystone Cops’ score dubious win [pipeline delay] – by Diane Francis (National Post – November 12, 2011)

The National Post is Canada’s second largest national paper.

“Frankly, Canada and Alberta have badly handled the public
relations when it comes to Keystone and remediation could
help the situation because the White House has opted in
favour of its environmental wing at the expense of the
organized labour one.” (Financial Post Columnist – Diane Francis)

President Barack Obama has kicked the can down the road by postponing until 2013 – after the next U.S. election – permission to build Canada’s Keystone XL oil sands pipeline to Texas.

This decision, in essence, strands the oil sands indefinitely and shuts it out of the U.S. market for years, if not forever. It’s being billed as a temporary setback, but it’s a major and devastating development.

The excuse is a new route is going to be sought to avoid putting pipelines across the aquifer that straddles midAmerica. The reality is the environmental movement, not an aquifer, straddles the United States and cannot be circumvented. The Keystone, and Canada’s oil sands, has become the environmental movement’s line in the sand in a battle to shut down fossil fuel usage even though there are no alternative fuels for 20 or 30 more years.

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How a pipeline was defeated: actors, activists and one key conversation – by Nathan Vanderklippe (Globe and Mail – November 12, 2011)

The Globe and Mail is Canada’s national newspaper with the second largest broadsheet circulation in the country. It has enormous influence on Canada’s political and business elite.

CALGARY – In the end, it came down to a conversation between two of the most powerful people in the world.

Earlier this week, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke with President Barack Obama about a pipeline set to run from Alberta’s oil sands down through the U.S. Midwest to reach refineries on the Texas coast of the Gulf of Mexico.

Pipelines are usually mundane affairs, but this one was different. A year ago, few had ever heard of Keystone XL. But in the space of just a few months, the quietly planned pipeline erupted into a high-profile international debate about the oil industry, the environment, and the role Canada’s oil sands plays in both.

Actors and activists whipped up support against the project, garnering national attention in the U.S. as they linked hands in a human chain around the White House in protest. Opponents from across the country descended on Nebraska, denouncing the pipeline as a serious risk to an environmentally sensitive area of the state, and winning state political support along the way.

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Flaherty talks tough with U.S. in wake of Keystone pipeline delay – by Steven Chase and Carrie Tait (Globe and Mail – November 12, 2011)

The Globe and Mail is Canada’s national newspaper with the second largest broadsheet circulation in the country. It has enormous influence on Canada’s political and business elite.

OTTAWA AND CALGARY— In a move that reflects a widening rift with Canada’s largest trading partner, a senior Harper government minister is warning that Washington’s decision to postpone a review of the Keystone XL pipeline could doom the project and speed up Ottawa’s efforts to ship oil to Asia instead.

Federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty delivered this message from the sidelines of the APEC summit in Honolulu as U.S. foot-dragging over the $7-billion Canadian pipeline’s fate becomes the latest in a string of trade irritants between Canada and the United States.

“The decision to delay it that long is actually quite a crucial decision. I’m not sure this project would survive that kind of delay,” Mr. Flaherty told Bloomberg News.

“It may mean that we may have to move quickly to ensure that we can export our oil to Asia through British Columbia.”

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[Energy] Democratic jackpot – by Lawrence Solomon (National Post – November 5, 2011)

The National Post is Canada’s second largest national paper.

The energy-short ­democracies will become top producers

The energy-short democracies — the United States, most European Union nations, Japan and Israel — are today mostly on the defensive, while energy-rich countries run by strong men — Russia, various Middle Eastern states, and Venezuela — are flexing their muscles.

Within a decade, this energy order could flip. Many of the Western democracies are likely to become major oil and gas producers, helping to glut the world and collapse energy prices. And today’s energy-rich countries, most having undiversified economies, will then lose the lion’s share of their revenues and become neutered politically.

The game-changer is “unconventional fossil fuels,” much of it trapped in shale — rock that often contains oil or gas. In the case of gas, the U.S. is developing so much, so fast in so many places that the domestic price for natural gas has more than halved.

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[Canada] The energy superpower that isn’t – by Terence Corcoran (National Post – November 5, 2011)

The National Post is Canada’s second largest national paper. Terence Corcoran is the editor and columnist for the Financial Post section of the National Post.

Canada hardly rates a mention in Daniel Yergin’s new book

When a “global energy superpower” starts delivering tough talk to its potential customers, that superpower had better be sure that people will listen. It has also better be sure it is in fact a superpower; otherwise, it may find itself talking tough to the wind.

In recent weeks, Canada — a self-proclaimed global energy superpower — has been trying to throw its weight around over the Keystone XL pipeline, TransCanada Corp.’s $7-billion project to ship oil sands production from Alberta to Texas. In Houston on Tuesday, Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver let the Americans know that Canada had other options. “What will happen if there wasn’t approval [of Keystone] — and we think there will be — is that we’ll simply have to intensify our efforts to sell the oil elsewhere.”

Canadian oil executives, who have a lot invested in the superpower notion, are also issuing aggressive-sounding statements aimed at the United States. A headline in The Globe and Mail Friday sounded like a threat: “Oil patch to U.S.: OK pipe or lose our oil.” The story didn’t quite back up the headline, but the sense was that Canada was developing alternatives and that China is the big alternative.

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Instead of pipelines, build refineries here – by Susan McArthur (National Post – November 5, 2011)

The National Post is Canada’s second largest national paper.

Susan McArthur is a senior investment banker at Jacob Securities Inc.

$100-billion ­investment needed over 20 years

The continuing controversy in the U.S. surrounding TransCanada’s proposed Keystone pipeline may just be the best thing that ever happened to Canada. Perhaps it will force us to finally just say no to being hewers of wood and drawers of water. While Keystone’s success is important, it’s time Canada comes of age and starts to transform more of its resources into value-added products at home.

When it comes to our oil resources, this is no small undertaking. The price tag to build the infrastructure and refining complex scaled for our vast oil reserves could be as much as $100-billion and could take 20 years.

We have the resources, the natural proximity to ports, rail infrastructure and voracious customers south of the border and within 36 hours of our export terminals. All it takes is vision, capital, know-how, tenacity and chutzpah. And a big bold plan.

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Canadian pipeline hits 11th hour opposition – by Bruce Campion-Smith (Toronto Star – November 5, 2011)

The Toronto Star, has the largest circulation in Canada. The paper has an enormous impact on federal and Ontario politics as well as shaping public opinion

OTTAWA—A last stand or a lost cause. Nebraska residents and their politicians are mounting an 11th hour stand against the Keystone XL pipeline, offended by the proposal to build it straight through a sensitive aquifer.

Racing against the clock, the state legislature will debate a motion in a bid to give Nebraska lawmakers the power to control the routing of the controversial pipeline. Its supporters are hoping to get it passed before the U.S. State Department issues its own ruling — promised by year’s end — whether the pipeline can be built.

“We feel that if we have a . . . law in place before the presidential permit is granted across the Canadian-U.S. border we’re on sound constitutional ground,” Nebraska state Senator Ken Haar said in an interview.

“We’ve been late getting this done but we still need to get it done.”

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Oil patch gives a dire warning to the U.S. – Nathan Vanderklippe, Shawn McCarthy, Carrie Tait (Globe and Mail – November 4, 2011)

The Globe and Mail is Canada’s national newspaper with the second largest broadsheet circulation in the country. It has enormous influence on Canada’s political and business elite.

CALGARY, OTTAWA, CALGARY – Canada’s oil sands companies are warning that a U.S. rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline would slam the door on their plans to expand exports into the lucrative American market.

In a measure of the substantial national and corporate interest riding on the controversial TransCanada Corp. project, both supporters and opponents are attempting to raise the stakes on a Washington approval verdict that had been expected by year-end, although it may now be delayed.

For industry, that has translated into increasingly dire warnings over the consequences of a decision on the $7-billion project to be made by U.S. President Barack Obama, who earlier this week said he will personally weigh in.

This week, some of the highest-ranking executives in the Canadian oil patch publicly detailed potential alternatives to Keystone XL amid a sharpening rhetoric that included a blunt caution: For some, an unfavourable decision will effectively close off the U.S. to future crude export growth, shutting down an option that has long underpinned Canada’s oil sands expansion plans.

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Revising route could kill Keystone XL: TransCanada – Nathan Vanderklippe (Globe and Mail – November 2, 2011)

The Globe and Mail is Canada’s national newspaper with the second largest broadsheet circulation in the country. It has enormous influence on Canada’s political and business elite.

CALGARY— As Nebraska considers the first attempt to divert the Keystone XL project, TransCanada Corp.is cautioning that any change to the pipeline’s route stands to delay its construction by as much as three years.

It’s the sternest warning yet from TransCanada, which has spent 38 months battling through a lengthy environmental review process on Keystone XL. The $7-billion pipeline would carry crude from the oil sands and northern United States to refineries on the Gulf Coast, and is a major plank in industry plans for expanding Canadian oil output. TransCanada has spent $1.9-billion to secure land and equipment for the project. It has readied itself to begin construction in the new year, in the belief that the State Department will grant its blessing in December.

But Nebraska, where the pipe would cross a delicate ecosystem called the Sand Hills, is contemplating new rules that could dramatically unsettle TransCanada’s plans.

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American nimbyism real threat to Canada – by Diane Francis (National Post – October 29, 2011)

The National Post is Canada’s second largest national paper.

The United States has become the world’s ultimate Banana Republic, a nation choked by the “Build-Absolutely-Nothing-Anywhere-Near-Anyone” people who prowl its corridors of power.

This, more than any Greek, Euro or banking crises, threatens Canadian living standards.

America’s political gridlock afflicts all forms of industrial or energy development. It is harming U.S. living standards and job creation that indirectly hurts Canada because of the close economic partnership. More specifically, the Banana mentality is threatening Canada’s critically important oil sands and the building of the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline to bring 700,000 barrels a day of new production to the U.S. market.

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The stranded oil sands: A worst-case scenario – by Claudia Cattaneo (National Post – October 29, 2011)

The National Post is Canada’s second largest national paper.

The signs are there: the Keystone XL oil sands pipeline has festered into an uncomfortable election issue for the U.S. president, Barack Obama. The upshot for Canada: a decision on whether to grant a Presidential permit, promised by year end, could once again be delayed.

The reality is that anything short of a go-ahead in December for Keystone XL would plunge the oil sands sector into disarray until new solutions move forward. The worst-case scenario? Stranded oil sands — for years.

Keystone XL, with a capacity to carry up to 830,000 barrels a day from Alberta to Texas, was due for startup in early 2013. There is no backup on the same scale or timeline.

“Everybody in the industry is thinking about this,” said Bob Dunbar, president of Strategy West Inc., an oil sands consultancy based in Calgary.

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Keystone pipeline faces new headwind – by Shawn Mccarthy and Nathan Vanderklippe (Globe and Mail – October 27, 2011)

The Globe and Mail is Canada’s national newspaper with the second largest broadsheet circulation in the country. It has enormous influence on Canada’s political and business elite.

OTTAWA AND CALGARY— TransCanada Corp. faces new hurdles in its marathon race for approval of the $7-billion Keystone XL pipeline, including a congressional demand for an investigation into the U.S. state department’s permitting process.

The Calgary-based pipeline giant is hoping to get the final nod from the Obama administration by the end of next month, but opponents continue to throw up obstacles both in Washington and in Nebraska, where the pipeline would cross environmentally sensitive terrain.

In a letter to U.S. President Barack Obama released Wednesday, Senator Bernard Sanders urged that no decision on the pipeline be made until an independent investigation into conflict of interest allegations can be completed by the state department’s Office of the Inspector General.

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‘Will Canada walk away from a $14T resource?’ asks economist – by Yadullah Hussain (National Post – October 26, 2011)

The National Post is Canada’s second largest national paper. 

Will Canada walk away from a $14-trillion resource? That’s the question John Felmy, chief economist at the American Petroleum Institute, is asking environmentalists who believe that blocking the Keystone pipeline would somehow cap Canada’s oil sands development.

“There is this argument that if somehow we can stop the pipelines coming to the U.S., we are going to stop oil sands development in Canada,” says Felmy, who works at the Washington-based trade association of American oil and natural gas producers.

“What are the oil sands worth? $14 trillion — at around $80 a barrel. Canada’s GDP is about $1.4 trillion – the notion that they wouldn’t develop a resource that is ten times their GDP! In all likelihood it is is going to be developed,” says Felmy, noting that if the oil sands don’t come to the U.S. they will generate even higher emissions as they will need to be shipped, probably to China, where they may be processed less efficiently.

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‘Family focus’ in oil patch – by Claudia Cattaneo (National Post – October 26, 2011)

The National Post is Canada’s second largest national paper. 

In meetings with oil and gas executives and the media in Calgary last week, British Columbia Premier Christy Clark spoke about how energy development in her province fits well with her family-focused agenda.

Family agenda? The typical oil pitch – whether from a politician or an industry executive – tends to boast about the benefits to Canada of being an energy superpower, expands on the efforts to shrink the environmental footprint, warns about the need to diversify markets. It is loaded with jargon such as “environmental stewardship,” “supply mix” and “portfolio of opportunities.”

“Families are the most important structure in any healthy society” is the way the B.C. Premier chose to explain why she wants more energy projects in her province. “I recognize that for families to be able to do a good job, they need to have a job. All the wealth-creators I met here in Alberta are interested in creating wealth, but are also interested in creating jobs. When jobs are created, when economic activity is enabled, it’s good for families.”

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