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Liberals may delay Teck oil sands project; imply Alberta should accept carbon tax

Wilkinson said all provinces, including Alberta, are expected to do their part to help Canada meet those commitments.

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The federal environment minister says Alberta’s plan to battle climate change could affect whether or not the government approve a giant mine project in the province.

“In the context of Premier (Jason) Kenney, you know, the most recent actions are fighting the federal government on the issue of pricing pollution,” Wilkinson told reporters in Ottawa.

“I think what we’re looking for is concrete actions on climate change.”

Teck’s Frontier $20.6 billion project is currently awaiting federal approval to begin construction in northern Alberta and is expected to create around 7,000 jobs in the construction phase.

The project, a “truck and shovel” oil sands mine, “will consist of surface mining operations, a processing plant, tailings management facilities, water management facilities, and associated infrastructure and support facilities,” according to a statement on the company’s website. It’s expected to produce 260,000 barrels of oil a day.

“Teck has also reached agreements with all 14 Indigenous communities in the broader Frontier project area.”

“With respect to (Frontier), we need to look at all the environmental impacts, we obviously need to look at the economic opportunities, and we need to ensure we’re taking both into account,” Wilkinson said.

“Certainly, one of those issues is how does this project fit with Canada’s commitments to achieving the reductions we are committing to (for) 2030, and the net zero commitment to 2050? I would just say again that it’s important that all provinces are working to help Canada to achieve its targets.”

Wilkinson said all provinces, including Alberta, are expected to do their part to help Canada meet those commitments.

The UCP government unveiled their industrial emitter plan, TIER (Technology, Innovation and Emissions Reduction system), in Bill 19, passed during the fall legislature session.

“Alberta recently announced its TIER industrial levy program, which has received notable support from stakeholders, including individuals such as Prof. Andrew Leach and Ed Whittingham. TIER would obviously apply to Teck Frontier. What’s more, Minister Wilkinson’s own government confirmed federal equivalency for TIER,” Jason Nixon, Alberta’s Minister of Environment and Parks said.

“In July 2019, the independent federal Joint Review Panel clearly recommended that Teck Frontier is in the public interest. Teck Frontier has followed the process the Liberal Government confirmed for them, so one would hope that Ottawa is not arbitrarily changing the rules at the 11th hour.”

TIER replaced the NDP’s Climate Leadership Plan by maintaining the price on pollution for large emitters but repealing the price on other businesses and residents. The federal price on carbon for Albertans, excepting large emitters, came into effect January 1, 2020.

Under TIER, facilities can either reduce their emissions or; use credits from other facilities, use emissions offsets from non-regulated organizations, or pay into the TIER fund at $30 per tonne.

The Alberta government launched its challenge of federal carbon pricing in 2019 and presented arguments Dec. 16-18 in Alberta’s Court of Appeal.

The court’s decision has yet to be announced.

story ideas? dmaclean@westernstandardonline.com Twitter: @Mitchell_AB

Energy

AER focusing on several energy companies for shoddy work

Last month, the AER shut down the operations of foreign-owned enterprise SanLing Energy after years of not paying landowners, municipal taxes or local vendors.

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Several Alberta-based energy companies continue to face scrutiny by the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) over repeated failures to pay fees owed and clean up regional well sites.

Last month, the AER shut down the operations of foreign-owned enterprise SanLing Energy after years of not paying landowners, municipal taxes or local vendors.

SanLing Energy also owed $67 million in security payments to the AER related to well sites and infrastructure decommissioning.

Despite their repeated failure to comply with past maintenance and cleanup orders, SanLing harvested over 3,781 BOE (Barrels of Oil Equivalent) per day from Alberta’s oil mineral reserves for years.

“If SanLing, or any company, wants to do business in Alberta, they must follow our rules. We cannot allow a company that has ignored the rules to continue to operate — that’s not in Alberta’s interest,” said Blair Reilly, AER’s director of enforcement and emergency management.

“Repeated attempts by the AER to bring SanLing into compliance have failed. As a result, the AER has little confidence in SanLing’s ability to conduct its operations safely and is taking this measure to protect the public and environment and to minimize financial risk.”

Despite the outstanding issues, AER’s compliance dashboard flagged SanLing six times previously.

In September 2020, the company failed to pay a security deposit, was unable to abandon dozens of wells as required and improperly stored waste.

They also failed to decommission 2,266 wells, 227 facilities and 2,170 pipelines and did not adhere to regulator orders to complete a detailed operation plan for their suspension tenure.

Sustaining Alberta’s Energy Network’s President Kris Kinnear, an energy advocate and landowner, has growing concerns about how long the energy producer continued to operate in Alberta despite repeated failures to the province and its partners.

“They harvested our provincial resources for years, without paying landowners, municipal taxes, or the vendors that service their oilfields. This left the Government of Alberta to deal with these liabilities,” said Kinnear.

He said the best solutions to these issues often come from the industry itself because their success and their future relies on having a sustainable industry.

“I feel that we can be innovative and by utilizing industry experts and what Alberta has to offer, a system could be created to help the companies that have liability issues so that they can become good corporate citizens in Alberta,” he said.

“They can become part of the solution instead of being the problem.”

Two weeks ago, the AER also announced it would direct the Orphan Well Association (OWA) and working interest partners of another Calgary-based Energy company Mojek Resources Inc. to take over its wells and facilities after the company failed to clean up multiple spills and comply with multiple orders.

The regulator says the escalation of enforcement was deemed necessary when the Calgary-based company failed to comply by March 5 with an order issued January 4 requiring the suspension of its wells and facilities, discontinuation of its pipelines and demonstration of proper care of all of its assets.

The AER said the OWA and Mojek’s partners are to suspend all of its oil and gas assets and ensure they are left in a safe state while addressing non-compliances at Mojek sites and confirming a working emergency response number.

It said Mojek holds AER licences for 32 wells, 35 pipelines and one facility and owes $1.76 million in security to the AER for its end-of-life obligations, along with debts to the OWA and the AER.

“We work with licensees to ensure they understand Alberta’s rules, and the majority of companies follow those rules,” said Reilly.

“When they don’t, we take action to protect public safety and the environment.”

Dhaliwal is a Western Standard reporter based in Edmonton

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Energy

Energy advocate furious no oil and gas companies at Calgary climate change conference

There were no oil and gas contributors in the 3,000 participants in the two-day Calgary climate change conference.

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An oil industry advocate is furious the City of Calgary didn’t have any industry representatives at their annual climate change conference.

Deirdra Garyk has written a letter to Mayor Naheed Nenshi and other city council members demanding an answer as to why there were no oil and gas contributors in the 3,000 participants in the two-day conference March 25-26.

“I attended the City-sponsored annual Climate Symposium last week that discussed how climate change is impacting Calgary and what innovative solutions could be implemented. These issues are top-of-mind for many, and it’s not the overall topic that I’m concerned about; it’s some of the speakers,” wrote Garyk in her EnergyNow blog.

It was titled “Is the City of Calgary giving the “middle finger” to the the oil and gas industry?”

She said the keynote speaker was Bruce Lourie – the Toronto-based Ivey Foundation president, who helped form the Task Force for a Resilient Recovery and played a role in Ontario’s Green Energy Act.

Garyk noted other speakers included Ed Whittingham – the former Executive Director of the Pembina Institute “who became famous when he encountered backlash after being appointed to the Alberta Energy Regulator’s Board by the NDP.”

Staff from the Pembina Institute also presented, with Garyk describing them as an organization “that’s actively campaigned against the fossil fuel sector.”

“What was noticeably missing from the roster were members from Calgary’s oil and gas industry that are working on innovations while providing the city and the country with reliable, affordable energy,” Garyk wrote.

“In fairness, there were two staff from ATCO discussing the topic ‘Innovation and Decarbonization in Natural Gas Distribution’, which was a fascinating presentation on the technology their company is working on in the fields of hydrogen and renewable natural gas; it’s important research and something all Calgarians should be proud of.”

“However, that is not the only innovative work being done by Calgary-based energy companies. Why wasn’t there a presentation from such organizations such the Clean Resource Innovation Network (CRIN) or Canada’s Oil Sands Innovation Alliance (COSIA)? Were they given an opportunity to present but chose not to? If so, did they feel welcomed to the symposium?”

“The City needs to engage with the oil and gas sector to help with the economic recovery and the energy transition. Yes, the City has to be innovative, but not at the expense of the industry and the people that made Calgary what it is today. The climate strategy needs to include and work closely with the oil and gas sector.”

Garyk warned members of the oil and gas industry might take their frustrations out on council in voting against them in the upcoming October elections.

“If Council doesn’t support oil and gas workers, maybe oil and gas workers shouldn’t support Council, especially those members who are running for re-election in October.  Calgarians should be asking their current council member and anyone running in the October municipal election some hard questions about their support for the oil and gas sector, especially in light of the of invited speakers to this symposium and lack of representation from the oil and gas industry.”

Late Tuesday, the city replied to the Western Standard for comment.

“The City of Calgary hosted the annual Calgary Climate Symposium to increase awareness of local climate risks and causes as well as knowledge of practical climate mitigation and adaptation actions for citizens; increase opportunities for sharing of best practices and innovative solutions to climate resilience for the Calgary business community; and explore how Calgary can leverage economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic to unlock new business opportunities and strengthen climate change resilience,” said a statement

“The City sought out experts who could deliver content for the two-day virtual event based on the goals of this year’s Symposium, which focused on practical actions for citizens and solutions to climate resilience for the Calgary business community-at-large, to help reduce emissions and risk to climate impacts within Calgary. The City of Calgary collaborated with a broad spectrum of organizations with diverse perspectives to support and deliver this year’s Calgary Climate Symposium including the Alberta Council for Environmental Education, Alberta Ecotrust, ATCO, BILD Calgary, BOMA Calgary, Canadian Business for Social Responsibility, Calgary Airport Authority, ENMAX, the Pembina Institute, the University of Calgary and more.”

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
Twitter.com/nobby7694

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Energy

UPDATED: Chevron stops funding Kitimat LNG project feasibility work

Calgary-Centre Conservative MP Greg McLean laid the blame for the funding halt squarely on the feet of the federal Liberal party.

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In another blow to Canada’s energy industry, Chevron says it will halt its feasibility funding on the massive, Kitimat LNG project on B.C.’s north coast.

Chevron, which is active in 180 countries, holds a 50 per cent stake in the project with Australia’s Woodside Petroleum Ltd.

Project operator Chevron put its interest up for sale in December 2019, but has failed to find a buyer.

The Canadian Press reported when the company put its stake up for sale, it said it would continue to work with Woodside on agreed project activities that brought value or were required for regulatory and operational compliance.

“But in a statement on its website this week, Chevron says that it now plans to stop Chevron-funded further feasibility work,” The Canadian Press reported.

“The project includes upstream resource assets in the Liard and Horn River Basins in northeast B.C., the proposed 471-km Pacific Trail Pipeline and plans for a natural gas liquefaction facility at Bish Cove near Kitimat, B.C. 

Calgary-Centre Conservative MP Greg McLean laid the blame for the funding halt squarely on the feet of the federal Liberal party.
 
“After 15 months of looking for an interested party, Chevron Canada has come to the conclusion that no one is prepared to buy their 50 per cent stake in the Kitimat LNG project, thanks to the Liberal policies and practices that continue to drive investments and jobs out of Canada,” said McLean, Conservative Shadow Minister for Natural Resources.
 
“Liquified natural gas (LNG) from this project would be some of the cleanest in the world, and would displace dirtier and more costly energy resources like coal, and LNG from the Gulf Coast.
 
“Losing this project would be a major blow for local First Nations that support the project and would see investments and good-paying jobs leave their communities. Failing to get this project built is not only a lost opportunity to reduce global emissions, it is also a lost economic opportunity for local First Nations communities and the rest of Canada.
 
“Canada has become an unreliable jurisdiction to invest in because the Liberal government makes up rules and regulations as they go. The uncertainty this creates is driving away investments, jobs, and opportunities.
 
“This project, representing a $24-billion investment and 4,500 construction jobs plus ongoing employment, reflects everything the Liberal government says it wants in an energy project, including rigorous indigenous consultation and environmental considerations. It is concerning that even a project like this has trouble being built in Canada.
 
“There is no time to waste as the world waits for the solutions that Canada is best positioned to provide. Conservatives will work to secure a future where responsible, world-class energy projects can get built. It’s time we did better.”

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
TWITTER: Twitter.com/nobby7694

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