Yedlin: Governments need to step up on pipeline file

If someone had asked two years ago how things would look today, the answer likely would have included a return to higher oil prices, the approval of at least one pipeline and marked progress on the construction of one, or even two, liquefied natural gas projects.

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Resource communities and the Plan B question

The NEBC Resource Municipalities Coalition based in Northeastern BC has called for the development of a sophisticated natural gas processing industry in the region that could include gas to liquids, methanol production and the manufacture of petrochemical products from natural gas (1).

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Talks labour on for new Fair Share deal

B.C. Liberals plan to scrap current Fair Share arrangement that gives local governments in Northeast B.C. tax revenue for industrial activity that takes place outside city boundaries but draws heavily on their municipal resources.


Pipelines are no job for Canada’s politicians

Mayors in Western Canada are duelling on the virtues and vices of oil pipelines, more particularly on the Trans Mountain pipeline proposed by Kinder Morgan Inc. Mayor Gregor Robertson of Vancouver is leading an entourage to Ottawa to argue, and lobby, against Trans Mountain. Mayor Naheed Nenshi of Calgary, for his part, has come to its defence, criticizing Mr. Robertson for “scaring people using numbers completely out of context or based on no facts at all. This kind of political interference is not in fact helpful.”

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Fair Share offer a 'slap in the face'

APRIL 8, 2015
The province's latest offer to extend Fair Share is "completely unacceptable" to Taylor and Fort St. John, their mayors said at a joint press conference yesterday. The ...


No rebound in sight for B.C. mining

This year marks the fifth year B.C. mining has struggled through low commodity prices, and both capital spending and revenues continue to decline, according to a PwC report on the industry.

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When the oil recovery comes, it won’t look like anything the world has ever seen before

By now, we’ve all received the memo on distress in the oil and gas industry. Daily depressing blogs, news stories and Twitter feeds are diarizing the corporate carnage, project cancellations, idle oilfield activity and 100,000-plus layoffs. The cash drought is so severe, even the line-ups at Tim Hortons have subsided. That’s what happens when $50 billion of investment is sucked out of an economy in 18 months.

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B.C. mayors call for stronger carbon tax

North Vancouver, April 7, 2016 — A group of mayors representing a cross-section of the province’s large and small communities have laid out a clear vision for climate leadership in British Columbia.

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No increase in B.C. carbon tax before 2018, environment minister says

B.C. Environment Minister Mary Polak has ruled out any increases to the province's carbon tax before 2018. After eight B.C. mayors and 130 businesses called for the tax to be increased and a coalition of Northeastern B.C. municipalities and businesses asked for it to be kept where it is, Polak decisively came down in favour of the latter group on Friday during an interview with On The Coast guest host Gloria Macarenko.

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When energy policy goes bad: National Energy Program’s failure offers clues to why new climate-change laws could fail too

You have to go back to the 1980s, to the days of the National Energy Program (NEP), to find a precedent for the bold government intrusion in Canada’s energy economy that we are seeing today. Like then, political leaders are driving radical — some would say reckless — change in response to perceived global threats. Market forces are expected to adapt or get out of the way. Taxpayers, consumers and shareholders are forced to pay. Dissenting voices are dismissed.

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LNG a Citizen's Guide to LNG

British Columbians today are being asked to evaluate an opportunity to foster a natural-gas export industry. This guide was produced by Resource Works – a B.C. non-profit society devoted to examining all sides of complex resource questions.


Biggest barrier for B.C.’s LNG is economic

In energy markets, a few years is a lifetime. Fast fluctuations in supply or demand, along with myriad other factors, can send oil and gas prices skyrocketing or into the cellar. And the results — as B.C’s liquefied-natural-gas watchers can attest — can be dramatic.

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More than half of British Columbians oppose fracking: poll

British Columbians’ views on hydraulic fracturing have “hardened,” with 61 per cent saying they don’t support the industry. That’s according to a new poll on liquefied natural gas (LNG) development from Insights West, released Thursday. The poll found support for LNG has waned since a study conducted in August 2013, while opposition to fracking has grown.

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The IEA says an oil shock may be lurking around the corner as the price bust has hammered investment in future supply

“Historic” investment cuts taking place now increase the possibility of oil-security surprises in the “not-too-distant” future, Neil Atkinson, head of the IEA’s Oil Industry and Markets Division, said in Singapore on Wednesday. About $300 billion is needed to sustain the current level of production, and nations including the U.S., Canada, Brazil, and Mexico are facing difficulty in keeping up investments, he said.

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Petronas to make final investment decision this June

Petronas will make a final investment decision about the Pacific Northwest LNG project by June of this year. In an interview The Star in Malaysia, President and Chief Executive Officer Tan Sir Shamsui Azhar Abbas said they would pursue the development because they received what they wanted from the Federal and Provincial Governments.


Smyth: All sides playing politics with B.C.'s LNG project approval

The Liberals want this one badly. The NDP, while insisting they support LNG in principle, quietly hope Trudeau rejects the project and denies Clark her re-election bragging rights

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s cabinet is expected to decide soon on whether to approve the $36-billion Pacific Northwest liquefied natural gas project near Prince Rupert. Trudeau is under massive pressure from all sides as the crucial decision looms.

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Fort St. John for LNG Truck Rally

Fort St. John for LNG Truck Rally March 16th 2016. 580+ trucks out for the Fort St John Pro LNG rally! Very impressive community support! #‎fsjforlng.  Pretty incredible to see. That's over $200 million worth of equipment out to support LNG (liquified natural gas)

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Northern communities to rally in support of LNG

Blue-collar workers, First Nations and small business owners in Northern B.C. are planning coordinated rallies in Terrace, Fort Nelson and Fort St. John tomorrow (March 16) to show their support for liquefied natural gas projects.

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Local hiring policy in the works in Dawson Creek

While they won't be binding, Dawson Creek is developing local hiring guidelines for oil and gas companies operating near the city.  Mayor Dale Bumstead, who travelled to Calgary last week to meet with oil and gas companies about municipal issues, said several representatives felt a policy defining what the community considers "local" would be helpful.

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Our country - and our companies - are ready for a new pipeline dialogue

Murray Edwards is executive chairman of Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. Brian Ferguson is president and CEO of Cenovus Energy. They are writing on behalf of BP Canada, Canadian Natural, Cenovus, Devon, Statoil, Suncor and Total.

It’s time for a new conversation about building pipelines in this country – a conversation about how Canada can get full value for its oil production while also addressing environmental concerns, including climate change. This dialogue needs to take place with the type of constructive, interest-based, problem-solving approach that Canadians expect.

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Coalition uniting resource communities

Northeastern B.C. is consolidating its voice on the topics of industrial development, natural resource business, fiscal infrastructure and the social amenities that dovetail into those issues.

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Port of Prince Rupert Economic Impact Study

The Port of Prince Rupert (PPR) contributes directly to employment and the economy in the region through its operations and activities. The economic contribution of the port to the community, region and country is termed the Economic Impact of PPR. This study examines the current economic impacts of the port on the provincial economy.

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The TPP is a giant boost for B.C. and the forestry industry

With another round of contentious softwood-lumber negotiations between Canada and the United States looming, it’s more important than ever that the Government of Canada bring forward the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement for parliamentary approval as quickly as possible.

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Long Awaited Wildlife Habitat Report Released

Prince George, B.C. – MLA for Prince George- Mackenzie, Mike Morris, has completed his report on wildlife habitat in the province, a report which contains 18 recommendations. The report “Getting the Balance Right: Improving Wildlife Habitat Management in British Columbia” was developed in the wake of the mountain pine beetle infestation and the upswing in timber harvesting. Morris was tasked with looking at how the infestation and increased forestry activity impacted wildlife habitat in the Interior.


Landmark LNG agreement under fire in lawsuit

The Blueberry River First Nations have filed a petition in B.C. Supreme Court seeking to quash the province's landmark liquefied natural gas deal with a company controlled by Malaysian energy giant Petronas. The first nations claim the government ignored their treaty rights in reaching a long term royalty agreement with Progress Energy and four other parties to extract LNG from an area of northeast B.C. known as the North Montney.


Carbon pricing key to unlock use of wind, solar: BP

The world is no longer at risk of running out of oil or gas for decades ahead with existing technology capable of unlocking so much that global reserves would almost double by 2050 despite booming consumption, oil major BP said on Monday. When taking into account all accessible forms of energy including nuclear, wind and solar, there are enough resources to meet 20 times what the world will need over that period, David Eyton, BP Group Head of Technology said.


Prince Rupert Gas Transmission Signs Project Agreement with Blueberry River First Nations

FORT ST. JOHN, BRITISH COLUMBIA, Oct 29, 2015 (Marketwired via COMTEX) -- TransCanada Corporation (TRP) TRP, +0.92% (TransCanada) today announced that its Prince Rupert Gas Transmission project (PRGT) has signed a project agreement with the Blueberry River First Nations, a Treaty 8 First Nation. The agreement outlines financial and other benefits and commitments that will be provided for as long as the project is in service.


Justin Trudeau’s agenda for natural resources


The challenge of reconciling the needs of both the economy and the environment have been woven into the fabric of the Justin Trudeau message since well before he become leader of the Liberal Party of Canada.

“Since the beginning of the 21st century, we have become increasingly aware that we can no longer claim to keep the economy and environment separate,” he told Parliament in 2010. “We understand that the two go together and should be considered as a single element to create prosperity for our country, our citizens, and our communities.”

This statement happens to be a succinct summary of what we are trying to do with Resource Works, and it also points to the path by which Canadian resource exports may ultimately find their way to market under a Trudeau Liberal government. 

Back in April 2014, just days after the launch of our groundbreaking project, I was invited to attend a packed room at the Vancouver Board of Trade to listen to Mr. Trudeau outline his plan as Liberal leader.

Clearly, Justin Trudeau had done his homework about what was on the minds of business leaders on the west coast. He had already picked up on the buzz that something aligned to his own way of thinking had recently come into existence in British Columbia. Twice during his remarks on the stage that day, he mentioned Resource Works by name and commented favourably on our goal of reconciling economic and environmental needs.

Since that time there has been growing recognition that Resource Works is one of the few credible organizations in Canada to successfully bridge the seemingly contradictory objectives of a strong economy and a protected environment.  

Mr. Trudeau’s ascendency has implications for everyone in the resource economy.

Let’s start with oil. There will be those today, especially in the Alberta energy industry, who will be assessing what they consider to be a damaged or even destroyed landscape, bereft of a highly and overtly supportive government for hydrocarbon development. 

There may be those suggesting that, since Mr. Trudeau’s chief campaign adviser, Gerald Butts, is the former CEO of the World Wildlife Fund Canada, the new government will surely be working to put the environment “over” the economy.

Proponents of the proposed northern pipeline route for Alberta crude will be taking worried calls from investors around the world. And those supportive of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion to Metro Vancouver may also be fielding a lot of questions along the lines of “So, are they going to pack it in?” 

This is a good moment to assess the knowable facts and chart potential strategies that the incoming government may be considering.  


According to a media report from February this year, Trudeau said in a speech at the 2013 Federation of Canadian Municipalities conference that he supports developing more Canadian oil to increase jobs and build Canada's "middle class". 

He was quoted in Metro Calgary stating that as prime minister he would be sending Enbridge "back to the drawing board”; he has called it a “non-starter”. He has promised to formalize Canada’s de facto moratorium on crude-oil tanker traffic on BC’s North Coast.  

The assumption today will be that the Enbridge pipeline is dead under the new government, and in some senses that is no doubt true. Let’s just be clear, however, on what Mr. Trudeau has said he is opposed to. 

He has called the Northern Gateway Pipeline (NGP) a “bad deal” and not just on environmental grounds. Writing in National Post in 2012, Mr. Trudeau claimed that the Conservative government had failed to provide context to Canadians on why resource trade with Asia should be expanded.

“In the absence of a clear, public strategy, with long-term goals and positive outcomes fully aired, debated and understood, Canadians see these issues as one-offs,” he said of NGP and of an issue that was raging at that time, the acquisition of Canadian oil sands assets by state-owned Asian companies. 

"The government has failed to provide the context, to make the positive case for Asia. It is therefore as difficult to reject bad ideas like the Northern Gateway as it is to approve good opportunities like the CNOOC and Petronas deals." 

Mr. Trudeau at this time was developing an export platform based on recognizing the growth of Asia and Canada’s role as a resource supplier, but setting aside the clear distinctions that Canadians have now apparently embraced: "We deceive ourselves by thinking that trade with Asia can be squeezed into the 20th-century mould,” he wrote in the Post. "China, for one, sets its own rules and will continue to do so because it can. China has a game plan. There is nothing inherently sinister about that. They have needs and the world has resources to meet those needs. We Canadians have more of those resources — and therefore more leverage — than any nation on Earth.”

As with any successful conversation about resources today, it was a matter of elevating to higher things: "In the end, this is more about our core values than the pure economic value of rising middle-class income. If we really believe in a Canada built on equality of opportunity, upward mobility and expanded individual freedom and choice, then we must get this right. Real leadership means fighting for, not pandering to, middle-class Canadians."

Will any of this do much to calm the nerves of investors in NGP? They have already proven themselves to hold steady under fire and there is every reason to think that their calculations today point to continued engagement. 

Mr. Trudeau must signal to investors that Liberals stand for stability and prosperity: Canada’s six major banks have $102 billion in credit exposure to the oil and gas sector, which created $117 billion in exports in 2013.  

The challenge for oil-sands producers aiming for northern tidewater will be to get the right products to a port site accessible to the right shipping route. The various upgrading and refinery proposals being talked about were still a tough sell in Calgary only a few weeks ago but that could change. A game-changing move with strong First Nations support could result in unexpected outcomes. In any event, Mr. Trudeau must take immediate steps to reassure the oil patch – and the Alberta NDP government – that he is not out to impair the nation’s drive to diversify markets for what has been its strongest source of export income.


The Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion proposal will be entering its key approval stages early in Mr. Trudeau’s watch. Just a year ago, protesters on Burnaby Mountain provided evidence that it would not be an easy process.

Now consider the decisive outcome Monday the newly created riding of Burnaby North-Seymour. This is an interesting one because it comes both sides of Burrard Inlet, where tankers from the TMEP pass by within sight from the pipeline terminus on their tug-assisted journeys out to sea.

Although the 2015 election proved not to be a de facto referendum on national energy issues, as some had suspected it might become, Burnaby North-Seymour was seen by many as a bellwether riding whose outcome would provide a deep reading of sentiment on pipelines and oil exports.

The Green Party’s candidate, a Simon Fraser University professor, had become an anti-oilsands heroine during the Burnaby Mountain protests. The NDP landed a former chief judge of the Provincial Court of British Columbia as its candidate to front a platform opposing the TMEP. The Conservatives brought forward a solid community leader to carry their banner. 

Liberal candidate Terry Beech, a youthful political newcomer with strong academic and business credentials, was Mr. Trudeau’s pony in what was forecast by some to be a tight four-way race. Beech took the seat with a 36-per-cent share of votes – below the national Liberal level but enough to give him a comfortable 3,500 margin of victory of the NDP candidate.

Maybe Burnaby North-Seymour was a referendum after all – one in which the alarmist tanker safety views of some candidates were contrasted with a Conservative approach that seemed too soft on the proponent, and voters chose a middle path. 


Projects that result in North Coast maritime shipping of oil products other than crude oil presumably will find a more positive reception in Ottawa now. A First Nations energy pipeline corridor proposed for the north, the Eagle Spirit project (reportedly worth up to $18 billion) is likely to surface as a more viable concept. The Pacific Future Energy refinery proposal has been gaining early stage investor support and the Liberal surge is likely to be a good story for them. Less developed is the refinery proposal launched by Victoria-based newspaper publisher David Black. In all three cases, the oil-patch response to date has ranged from mild curiosity to outright scorn. It may be time for a reassessment.


“Not only are we not doing a good enough job at protecting our environment, we are not getting our resources to market,” Mr. Trudeau has said. "We need clear and efficient processes that have reasonable, even-handed rules, clear beginning and end points, and decisions that can be relied on.”

As leader, Mr. Trudeau promised to “modernize” the National Energy Board and its review process for pipelines. What that means is anyone’s guess at this stage. He has the opportunity to transform perceptions of the NEB, and he can do so without creating undue deterrents to energy projects.

Even in Alberta, enhanced approval mechanisms in recent years went further than some felt necessary.


While opposing oil tankers in northern BC waters, Mr. Trudeau said he’s open to LNG carriers as long as they are preceded by a proper review process for LNG development.


Even before election night was over, expectations were forming on what will be in a Liberal plan for the Paris climate talks in December. This will be Mr. Trudeau’s first test as an international leader and the assumption at this stage is that he will seek to be seen differently than the Conservatives. 

Climate mattered to voters on Monday, yet Mr. Trudeau must also look for ways to rebuild public trust and understanding in the energy economy, not forgetting that 75% of Canada’s primary energy production comes from oil and gas.  


FORESTRY: The Liberals promised during the campaign that the forest sector would benefit through a $125 billion infrastructure investment program over the next decade. Forestry would also, the party says, benefit from a $200-million program to develop innovative and clean technologies.

MINING: Both the Liberals and the NDP promised to maintain the 15% minerakl exploration tax credit for flow-through share investors.

INNOVATION: Mr. Trudeau says a Liberal government would invest $200 million a year to develop innovative and clean technologies in the forestry, mining, fisheries, energy and agricultural sectors, while putting another $100 million annually into producers that promote clean-technology firms. He also plans to fulfill a G20 pledge to phase out subsidies for the fossil fuel industry. 


Mr. Trudeau can refresh the narrative by resolving Canada’s cultural tensions over the realities of its economic options. What he needs to do now is provide the missing context and show Canadians, especially urban residents, that his commitment to energy innovation and safety is genuine and meaningful.

He must also take immediate steps to reassure the oil patch — and the Alberta NDP government — that he is not out to impair the nation’s drive to diversity markets for what has been its strongest source of export income.

Mr. Trudeau has the potential to develop a strategic vision for Northern Canada that encompasses First Nations prosperity, energy development and a strong, growing national economy. Arctic sovereignty can be strengthened through resource development in the North that positions people and projects firmly in the sightline of other nations. 

Pipelines and other infrastructure investment are central to any such vision. To create the benefits of these projects today means bridging the seemingly contradictory objectives of a strong economy and a protected environment.

Resource Works

Rich Coleman still bullish on LNG in bearish times

Rich Coleman, B.C.’s deputy premier and minister for natural gas development, opened the government’s third-annual international conference on liquefied natural gas Wednesday unfazed by recent news about an LNG supply glut and a closing window for new projects.


How should Ottawa prioritize public infrastructure?

No economy can achieve its full potential unless people can get to work and goods can reach their markets with ease. Investment in infrastructure has appropriately been given a higher profile in the federal election campaign and in the recent Globe and Mail debate on the economy. So what’s the best federal role?


Equal political representation a challenge in B.C.

When an independent commission recommended that the legislature be expanded by two seats before the next election, it also put the major political parties on notice about the growing disparities in representation in an increasingly urbanized province.


Producer builds solar array to power nodding prairie pumpjack

Solar power is routinely used in the oilpatch these days to power remote monitoring and lighting systems but a junior Calgary producer is taking it to the next level, erecting an array of 192 solar panels to actually drive the heavy pumps that lift oil and gas from two of its wells in southern Alberta.


Canada's petchem sector looks for expansions on back of domestic feedstock

Prior to the drop in oil prices during the second half of 2014, the shale revolution was putting the US in a position to become less dependent on foreign oil, fueling job creation in the oil and gas industry, and creating a manufacturing renaissance. Many countries attempted to replicate the same success that the US experienced in shale. However, the US and Canada are the only major producers of commercially viable natural gas from shale formations in the world.


2015 Water and Hydraulic Fracturing Report Released

The rapid rise in the development of unconventional oil and shale gas reserves over the last decade has been accompanied by a similar explosion in levels of discussion and debate on the topic. Central to the vast majority of conversations about hydraulic fracturing is the issue of water — its use, its management and protection and its ecological and socio-economic importance.


Sheikhs v shale

The economics of oil have changed. Some businesses will go bust, but the market will be healthier
Dec 6th 2014


Northeast Mayors Release Major Report

Fort St. John, BC - A major report was released this week by The Northeast BC Resource Municipalities Coalition documenting the 50 year relationship between the municipalities in BC’s Northeast Region and the Province’s oil and gas Industry.


Mid-size producers leading natural gas production in Western Canada

Cities and towns across the province will find provincial funding flows more readily if they pitch a project together, Municipal Affairs Minister Deron Bilous said today. Bilous told a crowd of municipal leaders at the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association Conference that a new Municipal Government Act will be introduced during the spring sitting of the legislature. It […]


NEBCRMC Submits Recommendations to BC Climate Action Panel

The Northeast BC Resource Municipalities Coalition (NEBCRMC) recently submitted a brief to the BC Climate Action Panel that is currently reviewing BC’s Climate Action Leadership Plan. The Coalition supports BC’s Climate Action Charter and its goal of BC becoming carbon-neutral and creation of complete, compact and energy-efficient communities. The Coalition urges the province to look at the carbon emission impacts of remote work-camps and fly-in/fly-out construction camps versus housing project workers in nearby communities. The Coalition also reminds the province that the natural resources extracted and processed in Northeast BC are sold on world-markets and that additional costs can make those resources uncompetitive n global markets. The Coalition also points out that the low-carbon content of natural gas in Northeast BC could also help lower global carbon emissions by being used as a replacement for coal in coal-fired electrical and heat generating plants.


Four companies explore shale gas development in B.C.

Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corp. (JOGMEC) and Inpex Corp. have commenced a joint study with Inpex Gas British Columbia Ltd (IGBC) and Nexen Energy ULC into technology relating to shale gas development in the Horn River, Liard and Cordova areas in British Columbia (B.C.), Canada