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Pipeline or pipe dream – Keystone pumping uphill against Biden green team

New Biden administration hard against Keystone XL pipeline, “tarsands we don’t need”

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With Inauguration Day fast approaching, stakeholders in the Keystone XL Pipeline face a hard reality that the Joe Biden administration will not move forward with the project.

During the presidential campaign last May, Biden’s policy director Stef Feldman stated the Democrat would cancel the Keystone XL pipeline if he became president.

As Vice President in 2015, Biden supported then-President Barrack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry in a decision to cancel the permit.

Last May, Biden said he was against Keystone XL from the beginning, referred to the pipeline as “tarsands we don’t need”.  

The Trump administration subsequently approved a key pipeline right-of-way in February, 2020.

Interior Secretary David Bernhardt signed the permit approval covering 74 km (46 mi) of the pipeline’s route across land in Montana controlled by the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The segments of federal land represent only a fraction of the pipeline’s 1,930 km (1,200 mi) route – but the right-of-way is crucial, it was reported.

President-Elect Biden has made some administration appointments that should cause further concern for Keystone XL.

These include:

Jennifer Granholm, an outspoken proponent of clean energy, as energy secretary;

Deb Haaland, who supported anti-pipeline protests in North Dakota, as interior secretary; and

John Kerry, who in 2015, when he was secretary of state, announced Keystone XL was incompatible with the goals of the Obama administration, as special envoy for climate.

In 2016, Kerry said there was no need for a new pipeline.

“We have some 300 pipelines, it’s not as if we’re pipeline-less,” Kerry told CBC News, “The reality is we will be pumping oil and gas for some years to come, but all of us, every country, needs to move as rapidly as feasible … to a low carbon footprint.”

While the new administration in Washington has been clear in its opposition to Keystone XL, the project is proceeding.

Last week, Calgary-based TC Energy spoke optimistically of Keystone XL’s future as it invited oil shippers to bid for capacity expected to be made available on the existing base Keystone export pipeline system when the new line opens in about two years, it was reported.

“We’re very confident in our project, and we’re continuing to proceed with our planned activities to be in service in 2023,” a TC Energy spokesman said.

Gary Mar, former official representative for the Province of Alberta in Washington, sees some possibility.

“I’m still not optimistic, but I do still see a pathway where it could happen,” said Mar.

Mar noted that the oil and gas sector has supporters on both sides of Congress. Allowing the pipeline, which would feed U.S. refineries, could be used as one way to find the kind of compromise needed to help the new administration pursue an ambitious legislative agenda that includes climate action, higher corporate taxes and racial justice, CBC News reported.

Ken Grafton is the Western Standards Ottawa Bureau Chief. He can be reached at kgrafton@westernstandardonline.com

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Mars Hill

    January 12, 2021 at 11:38 pm

    Anybody who thinks ccp corrupt sleepy joe and the high school giggle girl are going to run the most powerful country in the world have been eating too much mushroom soup.

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Energy

Fortune Minerals to purchase JFSL facility for $5.5 million to build cobalt refinery

Fortune Minerals’ proposed refinery will process concentrate for lithium-ion rechargeable batteries for electric vehicles, portable electronic devices, and stationary storage cells.

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Fortune Minerals is set to purchase JFSL Field Service’s former steel fabrication plant for
$5.5 million in Alberta’s Industrial Heartland.

Fortune Minerals intends to acquire the site to construct a $600-million hydrometallurgical refinery for the planned NICO Cobalt-Gold-Bismuth-Copper mine in the Northwest Territories.

Fortune Minerals’ proposed refinery in Lamont County would process concentrate for lithium-ion rechargeable batteries for electric vehicles, portable electronic devices, and stationary storage cells.

Alberta’s Industrial Heartland Association represents five area municipalities that work together to attract chemical, petrochemical, oil, and gas investment. The group said the move is strategic for the region.

“Fortune Minerals’ innovative vision and metallurgical process technology for the NICO Refinery will promote further energy supply chain integration within North America, solidifying Alberta and Alberta’s Industrial Heartland as a critical jurisdiction for Canada’s energy future,” said executive director Mark Plamondon in a release.

The proposed refinery is anticipated to create 100 new jobs and maybe more should the refinery expand to recycling metals from post-consumer batteries from across Alberta.

The province took some credit for Fortune Minerals’ announcement.

“Alberta’s mineral strategy and action plan capitalizes on our untapped potential and helps meet demand for the critical and rare earth minerals which are essential to supporting a low-carbon economy,” said Alberta Energy Minister Sonya Savage.

“Fortune Minerals’ investment announcement demonstrates that our strategy is working.”

Plamondon cited alignment of the project with the province’s oft-touted environmental-social governance (ESG) values.

“The (project) supports our region’s robust diversification efforts and highlights our value proposition for companies looking to execute their capital growth strategies, develop new technologies and advance their ESG priorities.”

The new $231 million, 97-km Tlicho highway to Whati provided the necessary access for the project.

The highway “will allow metal concentrates to be trucked from the mine to the rail head at Hay River or Enterprise, NWT for railway delivery to the company’s planned refinery in Alberta.”

Alberta’s Heartland is Canada’s largest hydrocarbon processing region.

Goesselin is a Western Standard reporter

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Energy

IEA recognizes Canadian oil industry as the environmental world leader

In 2018, oil and gas companies also invested $3.6 billion in environmental protection initiatives, recognized by the IEA as by far the largest environmental protection spend of any industry in the country.  

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Canada is doing great but should take measures to continue its reputation as a preferred oil and gas supplier on the global market, says the International Energy Agency.

IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol is a big advocate for net zero targets, but still recognizes the reliance on oil and gas that will persist into the future.

He said he prefers oil supply to come from “good partners” like Canada, he told a press conference.

“Canada has been a cornerstone of global energy markets, a reliable partner for years,” said Birol.

“We will still need oil and gas for years to come… I prefer oil is produced by countries … like Canada (that) want to reduce the emissions of oil and gas.” 

The same IEA report included recommendations for Canada to incentivise moves away from oil production, yet the director still recognizes Canada’s contribution to the global market.

World oil consumption returned to pre-pandemic levels and natural gas demand surpassed levels pre-COVID-19 last year, according to IEA data.

Yet Canada only supplies 6% of the current world market.

Consumption of both oil and gas is expected to continue rising even as more renewable energy sources come online. 

A Russian-caused natural gas crisis in Europe has many looking to Canada as a great alternative.

“The world needs reliable partners,” said Birol, of the European situation.  

Canada is the fourth-largest producer of oil and natural gas in the world and home to the third-largest oil reserves.

“This creates employment for Canadians and secure and reliable oil and gas for both domestic and global markets,” the IEA said.  

The IEA recommends that remaining competitive in global oil and gas markets requires further emission reductions, to ensure the sector remains a major driver of the Canadian economy beyond 2050.

Emission reduction has already been steadily implemented in Canada, analysts praised the oil and gas industry’s “strong track record” of reducing emissions intensity.

The oilsands by have decreased emissions by 32% since 1990 and further reductions of up to 27% are expected by 2030. 

Canadian oil and gas companies spend an average of $1 billion per year on clean energy technology, in addition to billions in environmental protection.  

In 2018, oil and gas companies also invested $3.6 billion in environmental protection initiatives, recognized by the IEA as the largest environmental protection spend of any industry in the country.  

“Canadian oil and natural gas producers are leveraging their improving environmental, social and governance performance and Canada’s stringent environmental regulations to build a global competitive advantage.”

Ewa Sudyk is a reporter with the Western Standard
esudyk@westernstandardonline.com

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Energy

Oil price jump prompts additional $6 billion in investments

Oilsand investments alone are expected to increase to $11.6 billion in 2022, a 33% jump.

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The largest oil and gas industry group in Canada says it’s expecting $32.8 billion in oil patch spending this year, a 22% jump from last year.

Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) says the increased investment will help capitalize on the surge in crude oil prices, the growth will amount to an additional $6 billion this year.

Oilsand investments alone are expected to increase to $11.6 billion in 2022, a 33% jump.

As of Friday, the price of West Texas intermediate crude oil today is $87.05.

Tim McMillan, president of the CAPP, said the seven-year high price of oil doesn’t mean bad news, as companies are recording record cash flows and investment remains well below what it was in the boom years.

For example, in 2014 the Canadian industry captured 10% of total global upstream natural gas and oil investment, and the oil patch received record investment at $81 billion.

“Today we’re at $32 billion, and we’re only capturing about 6% of global investment,” said McMillan.

“We’ve lost ground to other oil and gas producers, which I think is problematic for a lot of reasons … and it leaves billions of dollars of investment that is going somewhere else, and not to Canada.”

Alberta is expected to be the leader among provinces in overall oil and gas capital spending, with upstream investment expected to increase 24% to $24.5 billion in 2022.

Over 80% of the industry’s new capital spending this year will be focused in Alberta, representing an additional $4.8 billion of investment into the province compared with 2021, according to CAPP.

Investment increase is also excepted in British Colombia, Saskatchewan and offshore production.

This means major recovery for the industry, as 2020 was harsh with global demand crashing and oil prices collapsing.

Global investment is on the down turn, as potential investors are discouraged by Canada’s history of cancelled pipeline projects, regulatory hurdles and negative government policy signals.

McMillan explained many now see Canada as a “difficult place to invest.”

“Rapid demand growth for oil and natural gas globally and strengthening commodity prices mean there is opportunity for Canada’s industry for decades to come,” said McMillan.

“To ensure a true recovery takes hold in Canada, government at all levels along with the industry must work together to create an environment where the natural gas and oil industry can thrive and attract investment back to Canada.”

Ewa Sudyk is a reporter with the Western Standard
esudyk@westernstandardonline.com

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