Alberta Energy News

Andrew Scheer and Jason Kenney continue to Gaslight Albertans and other Canadians that PM Justin Trudeau and/or Premier Rachel Notley is responsible for the Oil and Gas industry’s downturn and the reason why investment is fleeing the oilsands. Both are refusing to acknowledge a future hurtling towards them at breakneck speed: tectonic structural changes in the oil industry means most jobs are never coming back even if oil prices rise.

Martin Olszynski: Appeasement, not sabotage, best describes federal policies towards Alberta

EXCERPTS: “Considering these and many other examples, it is simply untenable to suggest that Ottawa has deliberately obstructed Alberta’s resource-related ambitions, and this includes with respect to interprovincial pipelines. Readers will recall that it was the federal Conservative government that in 2012 — midway through the review for Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipeline — changed the rules in an effort to make it easier to secure approval while at the same time refusing to engage in any national climate debate. It just turns out that this strategy, cooked up at least in part in Calgary backrooms, backfired spectacularly. Instead, pipeline reviews became proxy battles for climate policy — a legacy from which we have yet to recover. And while the federal Liberals passed Bill C-69 and brought in a national carbon price in an attempt to address this issue, they also bought the Trans Mountain pipeline at considerable political cost.

To be sure, it is not Ottawa’s fault that Alberta’s oil and gas sector’s emissions have recently stagnated and are still among the highest per barrel in a world increasingly and rather predictably concerned about climate change. It is not Ottawa’s fault that oilsands companies have accrued roughly 1.4 trillion litres of tailings with no proven technologies for remediation and reclamation. It is not Ottawa’s fault that the Orphan Well Association’s inventory of inactive wells has skyrocketed in the past five years and now requires federal and provincial assistance. And it is not Ottawa’s fault that Alberta’s Heritage Fund has little to show for it. Rather, all of these are the readily foreseeable consequences of Alberta’s preferences and policies, to which Ottawa has consistently deferred.

Mr. Morton concludes his column by observing that the political strategies of his generation of Albertans have not worked and that it’s time for Plan B. I suppose I agree with that too. The first step would be to take some responsibility for Alberta’s current state of affairs.

Martin Olszynski is an associate professor in the faculty of law at the University of Calgary.

Alberta’s carbon-pricing policy is imperfect – but in one significant way, it’s actually better than Ottawa’s

EXCERPT: “So the UCP’s policy is not perfect. Critics will rightly note that it does not put Canada on the path to meeting its Paris commitments. But then again, the Alberta NDP’s policy didn’t either, and nor does the federal Liberals’. Over all, it’s a reasonable plan in many respects, far exceeding the low expectations set by Mr. Kenney’s previous rhetoric.”

Andrew Leach: Alberta’s TIER regulations good on electricity, not so good on oilsands

EXCERPTS: “What’s the best part about this plan? The bills and cheques in Kenney’s TIER policy handle electricity extremely well, and for that reason, I’m supportive of the policy overall, although I’d rather see the previous CCIR left in place entirely.

Given the choice between Kenney’s TIER and the federal carbon price on power, I’d choose the Kenney plan.”

How Alberta will keep its $30-per-tonne carbon tax but make it easier for some big emitters to avoid paying

Alberta’s back-to-the-future budget

“Quite simply, it takes fewer human beings to produce a barrel of oil today than it did five years ago — and there isn’t a corporate tax cut big enough in the world that could change that.

Calgary office “…towers will remain conspicuously empty as the government waits for the return of a past that’s destined to stay there — and ignores the possibilities of a future it doesn’t want to acknowledge.”

What happens if Albertans keep praying for another oil boom, but God has none left to give?

“… there’s nothing any Canadian politician can do to arrest the technological, economic, and environmental changes that are reshaping the oil and gas industry’s future.”

What’s really holding back the oilsands? It’s not the bill of goods you’re being sold

Professor Leach’s polite way of telling Albertans that Conservatives are Gaslighting them: “They’re selling you a bill of goods.”

‘It’s the smart thing to do’: Canadian oil driller moves all its rigs to the U.S.

Before oil prices crashed in 2014, there were about 900 drilling rigs in Western Canada. Now, there are 550

EXCERPTS: “There are many reasons why drillers are moving rigs to the U.S., said Scholz, including the exchange rate of the U.S. dollar, which is about 30 per cent higher than the loonie. The day rates for drilling rigs are also about 30 per cent better in the U.S.

Crews can work year-round in the southern U.S. and the regulatory environment is less burdensome, he said.”

The problem with the above statement is that the new UCP Government made the regulatory environment “less burdensome”! Moreover, regulations keep us safe.

Let’s talk about those “burdensome regulations”: How Alberta kept Fort McKay First Nation in the dark about a toxic cloud from the oilsands

Excerpt from the Tweet thread below: “But when he [Jason Kenney” says that Alberta is over regulated, how does he propose to address scientific evidence like this, which suggests the existing regulatory system in the oil-rich province is too weak?”

After ‘very disappointing’ 2019, Canada’s oil and gas drilling forecast sinks even lower

I wish this was true but it’s TOTAL SPIN: “Oil and gas drilling activity in Canada will continue to be dragged down by a sense of uncertainty in the oilpatch after a federal election that had an “unrelenting focus on climate action,” according to the head of the Petroleum Services Association of Canada (PSAC).”

Important to note that Gary Mar is a former Conservative MLA & cabinet minister in Alberta.

Technology and the 21st century energy worker in Canada: Where are the jobs?

Many jobs are not coming back. Technology and the green shift is unstoppable, but this shift is a massive structural one.

EXCERPT: “Krishnamoorti worries that older workers are leaving the oil and gas industry without transferring their “deep disciplinary knowledge” to the younger, more digitally savvy employees. He says the latest downturn in the industry has been an eye-opener because companies have shed a lot of excess people that they couldn’t afford, but remaining workers are stretched to the limit and “there’s very little knowledge transfer that is happening within the industry.”

Rising oil production with fewer workers: Albertans can learn from Texas example

EXCERPTS: ““When prices go down, producers and everyone involved in the industry has to find a way to cut costs. One of the ways they do that is just to shed themselves of hundreds of thousands of employees. And the ones that are left get paid less,” he said, pointing out that rates in the services sector have still not recovered, which prevents employers from paying higher wages.

The takeaway for Albertans, the most important lesson, is that these changes are structural – baked into the cake, as it were. Every oil producing jurisdiction is wrestling with them.”

Majority of Western Canada’s crude oil exports to US not exposed to record high discount between WCS and WTI

“Chicken Little pronouncements from opposition politicians like Kenney don’t help a whit, especially his tweet calling for “economic nationalists” – a clear aping of Donald Trump and Steve Bannon populism that is roiling the United States – to “be storming the proverbial gates to demand coastal pipelines be built.”

The UCP leader can storm whatever gates he pleases and it won’t speed up consultations with BC indigenous communities or the NEB’s consideration of the environmental impacts of more West Coast oil tankers.”

Breakeven costs of US$40 — and falling — means it’s too soon to count out the oilsands

Oilsands have been synonymous with high costs for years. But the latest expansion projects suggest Canadian heavy oil producers are more competitive than many believed

EXCERPT: “The oilsands have been synonymous with high costs even before oil markets collapsed three years ago. But doubts about the viability of the world’s third largest proven oil reserve has grown increasingly acute in recent years, spurring several major international oil firms to sell their oilsands positions in favour of plays offering faster returns.”

Oilsands growth to slow despite demand being higher than ever

EXCERPT: ” “The key to unlocking further upside growth potential in the Canadian oilsands will be the ability of the government and industry to restore confidence that the crude oil produced in western Canada can get to markets at a reasonable transportation cost.””

The great oilsands era is over. The oilsands is no longer the force it once was for the Canadian economy

EXCERPTS: “These days, investors don’t have the same appetite for bitumen. Oilsands projects can take more than a decade to develop and the megaprojects often cost more than $10 billion to build.

“Oil companies are much more interested in spending in Texas and other American states where technological advances have unlocked a bounty of tight oil. Using fracking techniques, old fields are now producing unprecedented levels of oil. The wells are relatively cheap and quick to drill, so companies don’t wait long to start making money.”

Norway public pension fund severs final link with Canada’s oilsands

EXCERPT: “Norway’s municipal employees pension fund, the country’s largest, has sold its last remaining stakes in companies with operations in Canada’s oilsands, saying holding them does not align with efforts to keep global heating below internationally agreed-upon targets.”

Zurich Insurance to shift investment away from oil sands in broad carbon policy

TransCanada hopes to start construction on Keystone XL pipeline by June

Despite the court ruling which sided with environmental groups, TC’s schedule requires pre-construction activities to resume in Feb.

Alberta taxpayers footing bill for delinquent oil and gas companies, investigation reveals

Landowners are supposed to get paid for wells on their property, but companies are increasingly defaulting, which means the Alberta government ends up picking up the tab. An investigation by The Narwhal reveals the province is almost never recouping these costs

“That guy’s gone broke I don’t know how many times,” he told The Narwhal. “[The regulator] still lets him start over again.”

“Financially unstable companies have long been able to obtain licences and to drill new wells through a flawed system liability rating system administered by the Alberta Energy Regulator — a system that allows companies to exaggerate their assets by assuming oil prices of more than $100 per barrel and underestimates the costs of safely sealing and cleaning up wells.”

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