Canada: Energy, environment & pipelines 2018

Written by  //  May 16, 2018  //  Canada, Environment & Energy  //  No comments

Morneau says government willing to compensate Kinder Morgan against political delays
Finance minister points the finger of blame at B.C. Premier John Horgan
Morneau’s comments ​came just hours before Kinder Morgan Canada’s stakeholders met in Calgary, and offers the company an incentive to proceed with the project just weeks ahead of its potential drop-dead date. Kinder Morgan has threatened to abandon the project if a clear path forward isn’t reached by May 31.

14 May
Liberal MPs suggest more than 100 amendments to government’s environmental impact assessment bill
But opposition MPs are up in arms over the tight timeline set by the Liberals on the House Environment Committee for reviewing hundreds of proposed changes to the bill.
(The Hill Times) Liberal MPs have proposed more than 100 changes to the government’s wide-ranging Impact Assessment Bill, including to the role of energy regulators in the new environmental assessment process.
The amendments put forward by Liberal members of the House Environment Committee respond to problems with the bill, C-69, raised by those who testified to the committee, said Liberal and Conservative MPs on the committee.
They include a proposal to change the way the minister and federal cabinet make decisions about whether resource projects are ultimately in the public interest.
Right now, C-69 requires that the environment minister consider five factors as she makes that decision: whether the project “contributes to sustainability;” how harmful any “adverse effects” of the project are; what measures would be taken to mitigate that harm; adverse effects on Indigenous people; and how it affects the government’s ability to meet its climate change commitments.
Liberal MP Will Amos (Pontiac, Que.) said he plans to propose an amendment to require that the minister’s decision be “based on” those factors, instead of just taking them to “consideration,” and another to clarify and enhance the importance of climate change commitments in cabinet decisions.

2 May
Justin Trudeau’s Two-Faced Climate Game
By Damien Gillis, documentary filmmaker and journalist in British Columbia
(NYT Opinion) Within a year of committing in Paris to ambitious targets, Mr. Trudeau and his federal Liberal Party had rendered his pledge meaningless. The government approved a pair of heavy-oil pipelines and a liquefied natural gas plant. Its members secretly cheered as Donald Trump was elected, and moved toward resurrecting the Keystone XL pipeline. (Two other pipeline projects were terminated earlier in Mr. Trudeau’s term, but he can’t take credit; one was quashed in court and the other was canceled by the company.)
Hanging in the balance now is the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion
Canadians largely wouldn’t benefit under this scheme because most oil revenues don’t flow to public coffers, rather, increasingly to foreign companies. Even the supposed Asian demand has been vastly exaggerated. Exporting raw bitumen also would ship away potential refinery jobs. And legal experts argue that so-called national interest doesn’t trump Aboriginal rights that are equally enshrined in the Constitution.

19 April
The Myth of The Asian Market for Alberta’s Oil
(Desmog Canada) For years, we’ve been told again and again (and again) that Kinder Morgan’s proposed expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline is desperately needed for producers to export oil to Asian countries and get much higher returns.
The way it’s been framed makes it seem like it’s the only thing standing between Alberta and fields of gold.
Small problem: Canadian producers already have the ability to ship their heavy oil to Asia via the existing 300,000 barrel per day Trans Mountain pipeline — but they’re not using it.
“Virtually no exports go to any markets other than the U.S.,” economist Robyn Allan told DeSmog Canada. “The entire narrative perpetrated by Prime Minister Trudeau and Alberta Premier Notley is fabricated.”
In 2017, the Port of Vancouver only shipped 600 barrels of oil to China. That’s less than a tanker load. That same year, the port shipped almost 13 million barrels of oil, or about 24 Aframax tanker loads, to the U.S.
In other words: oil tankers are being loaded in Vancouver, but instead of heading to vaunted Asian markets, they’re heading south to California.

15-17 April
Canadians back Ottawa on energy projects, but seek balance
Monica Gattinger and Nik Nanos
(Globe & Mail) New survey data confirm that Canadians are behind him. In a study undertaken by Nanos Research on behalf of the University of Ottawa’s Positive Energy initiative, a majority of respondents say the federal government should have the final say on major national energy projects. They also support long-term development of the country’s oil and gas sector if it’s done in an environmentally responsible way.
But the Prime Minister should not take this to mean it’s smooth sailing ahead. Canadians also say the country is doing a remarkably poor job of making balanced decisions – whether in terms of the interests of local or Indigenous communities, the interests of investors, or the distribution of benefits of energy projects across the country. The Trudeau government has its work cut out for it on that front.
The key for Mr. Trudeau, Mr. Horgan and Ms. Notley, is to resolve the current impasse on the Trans Mountain pipeline in a way that demonstrates governments can strike the kind of balance Canadians are looking for on energy projects. Perhaps for Canadians who are in a dour mood when it comes to the country’s ability to balance local concerns with a broader public interest, the current pipeline firestorm could be an opportunity to find a pragmatic balanced path forward where Canadians can reconcile their environmental aspirations with economic priorities.

Trudeau says pipeline will be built over B.C.’s wishes
(Globe & Mail Politics Briefing) Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is promising Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline expansion will be built — over the objections of B.C.
A weekend meeting between Mr. Trudeau, Alberta Premier Rachel Notley and B.C. Premier John Horgan had a predictable result:: Ms. Notley continues to insist the pipeline must be built, while Mr. Horgan maintains that it must not. After the meeting, both sides remain as entrenched as ever. Mr. Trudeau says the pipeline is strategically important to the country, and the Liberal government will do what it can — through financial support and legislation — to assert its authority to push the pipeline through. But he’s not saying what exactly those measures might look like, other than to say Ottawa and Alberta are negotiating with Kinder Morgan. Mr. Horgan says his government will continue to use every tool at its disposal to block the project, though he acknowledged that he will stand down if the province loses in court.
Nationalizing Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline is a terrible idea
Is the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline in the ‘national interest?’
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has insisted the Trans Mountain pipeline is in the “national interest,” but there’s no doubt that it has put a strain on national unity.
An emergency meeting on Sunday ended without consensus, and the B.C. and Alberta premiers are still at loggerheads over environmental concerns versus provincial prosperity.
Opinion: Despite politicians musing about ‘de-risking’ Trans Mountain’s pipeline, there are a slew of reasons why government shouldn’t get involved

Canada will take financial and legislative action to make pipeline happen: Trudeau
Alta., federal government have entered talks with Kinder Morgan to mitigate financial risks of pipeline
(CBC) Prime Minister Justin Trudeau met Sunday with Alberta Premier Rachel Notley and B.C. Premier John Horgan to discuss the pipeline issue. Trudeau said he arranged the last-minute meeting because the ‘level of polarization around this debate required significant measures.’
‘Who asked you?’ Why Quebec waded into the Trans Mountain spat
For the pipeline’s backers, Quebec’s contribution to the controversy was hardly welcome. It has helped turbo charge an already sensitive issue; few can claim now its just a local spat between two provinces.
On Saturday, Quebec’s minister for Canadian relations, Jean-Marc Fournier, circulated an open letter, arguing Ottawa was sending the wrong message to the oil industry by backing Trans Mountain so fervently.
The federal government was encouraging “developers to ignore provincial environmental rules which were adopted in the interest of citizens who are concerned or impacted by the implementation of these projects,” Fournier wrote.

13 April
Éric Grenier: Trudeau’s pipeline dilemma: lose seats in B.C., or lose a lot more elsewhere
British Columbians aren’t the only ones watching to see how the PM handles this standoff

25 February
Michael Harris: Will the real Justin Trudeau please stand up?
(iPolitics) At a minimum, the trip to India suggests Trudeau and his handlers have a lot to learn — and that they’re learning too slowly.
That is a dangerous space to be in with the gravest issue Trudeau has faced as prime minister bearing down like a winter storm: Kinder Morgan and the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.
The Trudeau government has boxed itself into a losing position on this one, and perhaps a tragic one.
[David Schindler] points out that science was ignored in the Trans Mountain approval. No one knows, for example, how to get bitumen out from under ice should a spill occur in winter months.
Trudeau famously promised that his government’s policies would be based on science. Where is the science to back Trans Mountain, or for that matter, the government’s extravagant claims that by expanding the tar sands, they will still somehow bring down emission rates as promised in Paris?
While the government may be able to dodge inconvenient facts on the economic and scientific fronts, there is one place where their rhetoric will meet a brick wall: Burnaby Mountain.

22 February
Alberta and B.C. agree to a truce in pipeline dispute
(Globe & Mail) The Alberta government said it will resume imports of B.C. wine, ending a short-lived policy designed to punish British Columbia for its attempt to block Kinder Morgan’s $7.4-billion Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.
Alberta Premier Rachel Notley announced the change Thursday afternoon, shortly after B.C. Premier John Horgan said his government will ask the courts if it has the authority to limit the expansion of oil transportation. Mr. Horgan’s announcement was viewed by Alberta as an indirect tactic intended to cool the trade war.
Gary Mason: A blink from B.C. and a victory for Alberta, but pipeline battle continues

20 February
Scotia Economics Report: Pipeline Approval Delays: the Costs of Inaction
• Canada’s oil patch once again finds itself with too much crude and too few pipelines, depressing the value of Canadian crude relative to US and global benchmarks.
• The mid-November service suspension on the Keystone pipeline hastened the arrival of takeaway capacity tightness and sparked the latest flare-up in Canada oil discounts.
• We anticipate that discounts will remain elevated until Line 3 enters service in the latter half of 2019, though it will likely take the completion of either TMX or KXL by 2020 or later before differentials return to a state reflective of adequate takeaway capacity.
• Given the excess of production over takeaway capacity through this period, the price received for Western Canadian oil will remain vulnerable to service disruptions in current transportation channels.
• Pipeline approval delays have imposed clear, demonstrable and substantial economic costs on the Canadian economy. If maintained at current levels, the discount on Western Canadian oil would shave C$15.6 billion in revenue annually from the sector.
• An expected shift from pipeline to oil-by-rail will mitigate some of this impact, reducing foregone revenues in 2018 to a still-high C$10.8 billion.
Link to Full Report

19 February
‘Science is being ignored:’ prominent Alberta professor sides with B.C. on pipeline
Ecology professor argues the interprovincial dispute is being driven by politics, not science
[David Schindler] mentioned a Royal Society of Canada study from 2015 that lays out the unknowns when it comes to the transport of bitumen and said that many of the issues raised then have still not been addressed.
In particular, he said, he is concerned with oil spills during colder months.
“We still don’t know how to get bitumen out from under the ice,” he said. “If it goes in to one of the major salmon rivers crossing B.C., we will just sit by and helplessly watch it go downstream.”

18 February
Elizabeth May: Is the pipeline really in our best interests?
(Times Colonist) The term “national interest” is showered around the Kinder Morgan pipeline like confetti. It is received wisdom that it must be so; everyone says it is so. On that fact hinges the outrage against a B.C. government that has the audacity to represent its citizens’ interests.
Few people have noticed that the National Energy Board’s use of the term “national interest” has no similarity to a common-sense understanding. The expert panel on the NEB commissioned by the Trudeau government made this point. “National interest” in NEB-land means that the pipeline ships stuff and they like it.
Unifor attempted to enter evidence that building Kinder Morgan would cost jobs. The Alberta Federation of Labour represents 170,000 workers in Alberta. The AFL is also against Trans Mountain’s expansion because of the jobs and economic wealth lost down the pipeline.
Shipping out unprocessed solid bitumen to refineries in other countries ships out Canadian jobs at the same time. And it increases the carbon footprint of the product. In 1953, when the Trans Mountain pipeline was first built, it was not for export. It shipped crude to four refineries on the Lower Mainland.
Shipping solid bitumen diluted with toxic fossil-fuel condensate for export bypasses the last remaining refinery. That refinery cannot process bitumen. It has already cut its workforce by 30 per cent, and if Kinder Morgan goes ahead, it will likely close.
The NEB refused to accept the evidence. It ruled that its mandate did not include jobs, or climate, or upstream or downstream impacts.

7 February
Varcoe: Kinder Morgan growing frustrated, but ‘not close to pulling the pin’ on pipeline
(Calgary Herald) Somewhere between a bitumen blockade and a wine embargo, an energy company is trying to get a pipeline built.
Despite the tit-for-tat trade actions between Alberta and British Columbia, the president of Kinder Morgan Canada Ltd. insists the company is moving ahead, committed to building the project at the centre of a national firestorm.
But Ian Anderson acknowledges he’s discouraged by the B.C. government’s latest attempts to sidetrack the $7.4-billion Trans Mountain pipeline expansion with proposed regulations and restrictions on transporting oil.
He wants the federal government to assert its authority in a morass that’s become as sticky as bitumen itself.

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