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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

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard and the Vice-President: News Division of Western Standard New Media Corp. He has served as the City Editor of the Calgary Sun and has covered Alberta news for nearly 40 years. dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Steven Ruthven

    May 30, 2021 at 6:57 pm

    Wow ! I can see why no Alberta Energy Companies were at the Climate Symposium https://www.calgary.ca/uep/esm/climate-change/calgary-climate-symposium.html

    Mayor Nenshi, are you making environmental policy for Calgary using United Nations Climate Change Agenda’s?

    How about another Symposium for Alberta Energy Companies where they are invited for their input on environmental issues & their work in reducing emissions?

  2. Left Coast

    April 7, 2021 at 9:45 am

    When are the stupid Canooks going to wake the hell up?

    Every 20 weeks China increases their EMISSIONS equal to Canada’s entire Annual Emissions.

    Destroying Canada’s Economy for the Green Fantasy is suicide and playing right into the hand of Justin’s buddies the CCP. Canada sending Billions to the non-conforming countries like China . . . the Second Largest Economy on the Planet . . . is way past silly . . .

    How does the klimate farce end in 2030? The China Controlled UN declares that China has measured up and all is well. You can bet the farm on this . . .

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Energy

BAROOTES: There’s nothing ‘just’ about Justin’s ‘Just Transition’ 

Erika Barootes says Albertans need a voice in the Senate to fight the phasing-out of the energy sector.

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Erika Barootes is a Senate nominee candidate for the Conservative Party of Canada

A key reason I put my name forward to represent Alberta in the Senate is to speak up for the many Albertans whose lives and livelihoods are being fundamentally ignored by Ottawa.

The Liberal government’s so-called “Just Transition” scheme is only the most recent example. In its crosshairs are the 522,000 Canadians working in the oil and gas industry and the families that depend on them.

You easily could have missed it: right before the Liberals pulled the plug and called their opportunistic election in August, they launched consultations for “just transition” legislation. That consultation has already closed, with no further opportunities for feedback to be welcomed by the government.

No matter how it’s branded, the “transition” here involves putting resource workers out of work, with their livelihoods deemed a write-off.

The “Just Transition” plan, a scheme to mothball a key economic driver in our country, started long before the creation of Trudeau’s buzz term with the stopping of resource projects. Whether it was the prime minister’s killing Northern Gateway by cabinet order or the regulatory strangulation of the Frontier oil sands project, amongst others, the government knows the jobs it doesn’t want Canadians supporting their families with. 

The glaring omission in the idealistic “just transition” are the lives of those it impacts immediately. Much like the consumer carbon tax forced on provinces by Ottawa, the considerations for ordinary people weren’t taken into account: the carbon tax didn’t stop people from driving to work, or their kids to extra-curricular activities, or paying to heat their homes — it just made it more expensive. 

Leadership – especially amongst Alberta companies – in reducing GHG emissions per barrel, or ongoing innovation in the oil and gas industry, global demand for resources, and the uncomfortable question of “then who are we going to import our resources from?” don’t seem to resonate at all with Ottawa.

While the legislation hasn’t been introduced, nor has the report from the “consultations” even been finished, I’m not optimistic about where the NDP-backed Liberal minority government in Ottawa will land on this.

This is exactly why the Senate, the upper house, needs legitimate representation from our country’s regions. That was supposed to be the point of the Senate, a counterbalance and gut-check on the House of Commons. 

Another handpicked-by-Ottawa appointee to speak for Albertans only exacerbates the problem. 

I know what you’re thinking: you think this government is going to appoint the person Albertans choose? What’s the point? 

Hundreds of thousands of ballots were cast in Alberta’s Senate nominee elections in 1998 and 2004 during the previous period of federal Liberal governance. In 1998, there wasn’t even the hope of a merged federal Conservative Party on the horizon.

This election, and Alberta’s proud history of leadership on Senate reform, gives Albertans an opportunity to make their voices heard. 

The Liberals and NDP who mock and boycott these elections love the appointment process and an effective rubber stamp on whatever comes out of the House of Commons. No checks, no balances. 

With next-to-no consultation on consequential legislation like the upcoming “just transition” scheme coming out of Ottawa, it’s clear why we need real representation in the Senate to put checks and balances on the House of Commons. 

People’s livelihoods are too important to be lost in the process.

Erika Barootes is a Senate nominee candidate for the Conservative Party of Canada

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Energy

WITTEVRONGEL: The oil and gas industry is helping rein in Alberta’s deficit. Can it also help lower GHGs?

“If we want to have a chance of hitting this ambitious target, we need to shift the narrative from blaming the oil and gas industry to embracing it as an integral part of the solution.”

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Alberta’s expected deficit will be less than half what was projected in February, largely thanks to the rebound of the oil and gas industry. Expanded oilsands production, improved oil prices, and increased oil and gas investment have resulted in higher than anticipated resource revenues. In fact, the province’s revised royalty estimates are now triple the original sums.

While the oil and gas industry steps in and once again saves Alberta, the forecasted resource revenue is being called too high to be sustainable. In addition, the serendipitous rebound occurs as we emerge from Canada’s “infernal summer,” with many calling for decisive action on climate change.

Given the federal government’s pledge to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050, we must consider how and where the oil and gas industry fits into that. While some are more than happy to see the entire sector go up in flames, others have a more nuanced vision of the future. With its technology, resources, and infrastructure, the industry is actually uniquely situated to not only play its part in a low-emission future, but to lead.

Capturing carbon

While the Canadian oil and gas sector contributes only about 0.3% of overall global GHG emissions, and work is well underway to develop more renewable energy sources for consumption, there are other high-emitting industries like steel and cement that lack viable options for reducing emissions. Therefore, without some form of carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS), net-zero seems unrealistic. 

CCUS involves capturing carbon dioxide and, if not used on site, often transporting it (by pipeline) to be used elsewhere or injected into geological formations for permanent storage so it does not re-enter the atmosphere. The oil and gas industry, with its expertise, pipelines, and other infrastructure, is best positioned to lead in this area. In fact, the same formations we extract oil and gas out of can store CO2, deep in the ground.

In recent years, some of the world’s largest and most advanced carbon capture projects have been developed in Alberta. With a promised federal investment tax credit for CCUS slotted to take effect in 2022, this is an opportune time to expand and grow CCUS potential.

In addition, the much-vilified Alberta oilsands are in close proximity to Canada’s Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin, offering a world-class opportunity for permanent carbon storage. 

CCUS fits into the broader circular economy model for mitigating emissions. The four Rs of the circular carbon economy—reduce, reuse, recycle, and remove—were endorsed at the G20 Energy Ministers meeting in 2020 as being “a holistic, integrated, inclusive, and pragmatic approach to managing emissions.” As such, CCUS has a part to play in a resilient, sustainable system.

Reducing net GHG emissions to zero by 2050 is going to be a challenge. If we want to have a chance of hitting this ambitious target, we need to shift the narrative from blaming the oil and gas industry to embracing it as an integral part of the solution. 

Guest Column by Krystle Wittevrongel, Public Policy Analyst at the Montreal Economic Institute www.iedm.org

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Energy

Deal sees Alberta becoming half owner of the Sturgeon Refinery

North West Refining will be paid $425 million to forego future tolling revenue and for its 50% equity stake. Canadian Natural Resources Ltd., which owns the other 50% of the refinery, will also be paid $400 million.

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The Alberta government now owns 50% of the troubled Sturgeon Refinery.

Energy Minister Sonya Savage said yesterday the move should free up $2 billion for provincial coffers.

“We are taking action to get a better deal for taxpayers and reducing long-term costs. This agreement provides more economic certainty which will benefit Albertans today and into the future. We look forward to our renewed arrangement with the refinery’s operator, the North West Redwater Partnership, in the years to come,” Savage said in a release.

Under the deal, the government is transferred a 50% ownership interest in the refinery previously held by North West Refining.

The government made the switch after reviewing contracts the Sturgeon Refinery signed with former premier Ed Stelmach’s government in 2011.

The Alberta director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, Kevin Lacey, wasn’t happy with the deal.

“The government is just trying to dig themselves out of bad contracts they signed in the past. We expect our government to run schools, hospitals and keep our taxes low, they should not be involved in the energy business,” Lacey told the Western Standard.

“Alberta needs our government to support our energy sector, yes, but it should not be directly involved in the industry. Let the politicians run the government and business people run businesses.”

With the deal, North West Refining will be paid $425 million to forego future tolling revenue and for its 50% equity stake. Canadian Natural Resources Ltd., which owns the other 50% of the refinery, will also be paid $400 million.

“This process will not cost taxpayers any additional funds than the government would otherwise be obligated to pay as a toll payer,” said a government release.

“Through the agreement, the government is able to capture the value of processing bitumen as both a toll payer and facility owner.

“This plan improves the government’s net present value for the refinery by approximately $2 billion over the life of the project. Net present value is the difference between the present value of cash inflows and the present value of cash outflows over a period of time.”

The government said the agreement also frees up $1 billion in cash flow over the next five years because additional cash flow is a result of the restructuring.

The agreement includes a 10-year extension of the processing agreement to 2058.

“With this optimization, the government has an equal vote in the control of the refinery to which it is the majority toll payer. Canadian Natural will provide operational leadership to North West Redwater Partnership,” said the government.

The Sturgeon Refinery is designed to process approximately 79,000 barrels per day of diluted bitumen from Alberta’s oil sands into higher-value products like low-carbon, low-sulphur diesel, vacuum gas oil, diluent and natural gas liquids.

It was set to originally cost $5.4 billion but was completed last year at a cost of close to $11 billion.

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

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