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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

Environmentalists celebrate after insurer ditches TMX pipeline project

Argo Group International Holdings Ltd., an underwriter based in Bermuda, said the project no longer fits the company’s “risk appetite.”

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An environmental group is taking credit after a Bermuda-based insurance company declined to renew its policy on the TMX pipeline expansion project.

Argo Group International Holdings Ltd., an underwriter based in Bermuda, said the project no longer fits the company’s “risk appetite.”

“Thanks to pressure from Indigenous land defenders, environmental organizations, and you, the disastrous Trans Mountain pipeline, just lost another insurer,” said a statement from the Leadnow environmental group.

“We know our pressure is working. Trans Mountain recently asked the Canada Energy Regulator to keep the identity of its insurers a secret, citing increased costs for its operations because of ‘dwindling insurance options.’

“They couldn’t have given us a clearer signal that targeting insurance companies could put an end to Trans Mountain for good.

“It’s why, alongside allies across Canada and the US, we’re launching a week of action targeting Trans Mountain’s remaining insurers, with actions happening every day this week — culminating in a delivery of thousands of signatures to insurance company’s offices demanding they immediately drop the destructive tar sands pipeline on Friday.”

“We currently insure the Trans Mountain pipeline, but do not intend to renew when the policy expires in August 2021,” Argo spokesman David Snowden told the CBC.

“This type of project is not currently within Argo’s risk appetite.”

Zurich Insurance Group AG has also dropped Trans Mountain as a possible client, amid pressure from environmental and Indigenous groups.

The feds bought the Trans Mountain pipeline for $4.5 billion in May, 2018, after Kinder Morgan, pulled out because of political and environmental opposition.

The cost to complete the project, from Alberta to the lower mainland, now stands at $12.6 billion.

Construction along the entire route should be complete in 2022.

The original Trans Mountain Pipeline was built in 1953 and the expansion is essentially a twinning of this existing 1,150-kilometre route.

The system will go from approximately 300,000 barrels per day to 890,000 barrels per day.

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

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Energy

Feds say coal-ladened land in BC will not be sold for mining

The 49,421 acres of pristine, taxpayer-owned coal lands have been slated for auction since 2013. Cabinet on Friday said it will refuse permits for all new coal mining ventures in Canada.

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Canadians own tens of thousands of acres of coal-rich land in southeast BC, but the feds say no one will be allowed to mine it, says Blacklock’s Reporter.

The 49,421 acres of pristine, taxpayer-owned coal lands have been slated for auction since 2013. Cabinet on Friday said it will refuse permits for all new coal mining ventures in Canada.

“This position will inform federal decision making on thermal coal mining projects,” cabinet said in a statement.

It did not mention the largest tract of federal lands known to have top-grade coal.

The Dominion Coal Block near Fernie, B.C. contains more than 75,000,000 tonnes of steel-quality coal, by official estimate. Parliament in 2013 passed a bill that permitted the cabinet to auction the lands owned by the federal government since 1905.

“It’s an area that is well known for high quality metallurgical coking coal,” Soren Halverson, associate assistant deputy finance minister, testified at 2013 hearings of the Senate energy committee.

“That resource is a scarce resource. It’s too early to speculate on the potential value.”

Then-Conservative MP David Wilks (Kootenay-Columbia), whose riding included the Dominion Coal Block, told the Commons at the time the wilderness area had “huge potential” for export to Asian markets.

“We know the Dominion Coal Block has a huge potential regarding metallurgical coal, which in common terms is the steel-making coal used vastly around the world for a number of things,” said Wilks.

“It is time to divest and allow natural resource extraction to continue.”

Wilks called the land auction “a great opportunity not only for the federal government, but also for the extraction industry.”

The coal lands border B.C.’s Flathead River Watershed where provincial regulators imposed a mining moratorium in 2011. The Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society has proposed the Dominion Coal Block be federally protected.

Cabinet on Friday said it would not issue any federal permits for new coal mines or expanded operations. The ban was a “position,” not a regulation or statute.

“New thermal coal mining projects or expansions are not in line with the ambition Canadians want to see on climate,” Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson said in a statement.

Wilkinson’s department in a policy statement said the “continued mining and use of coal for energy production anywhere in the world is not environmentally sustainable and does not align with the Government of Canada’s commitments.”

Cabinet did not comment on investments in Chinese coal companies by the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board.

The agency in its 2020 annual report disclosed it held $1 million worth of stock in Jiangsu Guoxin Corp. Ltd., a coal distributor; another $3 million in shares with China Coal Energy Co. Ltd., operator of 12 mines; and $42 million in China Shenhua Energy Co. Ltd., the largest state-owned coal mining company in the People’s Republic.

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

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Energy

O’Reagan: ‘I don’t know if Canada needs more pipelines’

“I don’t know – I think the market will decide that and I think investors will decide that,” said O’Reagan.

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The National Resources Minister and his civil servants don’t know if Canada needs more pipelines, but experts say the answer is obvious.

Reporters asked Seamus O’Reagan if Canada needed more pipelines during a stop in Alberta June 3 to announce hydrogen fueling stations for heavy trucks.

“I don’t know – I think the market will decide that and I think investors will decide that,” said O’Reagan.

It wasn’t the first time the question had been asked, according to documents the Canadian Press obtained by request.

After Keystone XL was cancelled in January, O’Reagan’s deputy minister held meetings with the Alberta government, Keystone XL owner TC energy, and other stakeholders.

A briefing note suggested the deputy minister ask: “Do you believe Canada still requires additional export capacity beyond [TransMountain] and Line 3? What do you see as the likely routes to putting it in place?”

Richard Masson, an executive fellow of the University of Calgary’s School of Public Policy, said the industry knows what the government might not.

“It’s better to have excess pipeline capacity so that if a refiner is trying to give you a lousy price, you’ve got an option to send it to a different refinery. And so that’s why producers are very keen to have more pipeline capacity than we have,” said Masson.

“A lot of folks who have never been in the oil business don’t understand that. So deputy ministers and ministers federally may never have had those kinds of experiences. But if you’re in the oil patch, you absolutely know you need options. You need spare capacity because that’s how you’re going to get the value for your resources,” he said in an interview.

Dan McTeague, president of Canadians For Affordable Energy, said the briefing memo shows a lack of esteem for the major economic contribution of pipelines and the energy sector.

“I don’t think the bureaucrat said this haphazardly or capriciously. I think unfortunately, it underscores substantial, significant and dangerous secrets by Canadians as to how important those pipelines are to the standard of living and the valued foundational benefits that we often take for granted,” McTeague said in an interview with the Western Standard.

“The deeper question is, if we’re going to allow to roll over and play dead every time a pipeline is destroyed, either by our government or by another government… then what is it that we want to do? Do we really want to end the oil and gas sector industry in Canada, representing directly 11% of the country’s GDP? If the question is, can we do without that industry? If we can do without pipelines, then how do you substitute an 11% drop in your economic activity? I don’t see it happening.”

Mike Simpson, Executive Director of Operations for the Canadian Energy Centre, agrees the case for more pipelines is strong.

“Canada does need additional pipelines. What the [Keystone XL] decision taught us is we shouldn’t have to rely on our ‘friends’ to grow our economy. While [TransMountain] and Line 3 are extremely important, those lines will provide egress of our current production, not necessarily allow for immediate growth of production. If Canada wants to see decades of economic strength and a strong and secure energy system we must build our own pipelines to our own coasts,” Simpson said in a written response to queries by the Western Standard.

“While there is the belief the market will decide if more pipelines are necessary, the market has been distorted by governments through over-regulation and interference – C-69 and [the] west coast tanker ban come to mind.

“In Alberta, there are many approved oil and gas projects ready to begin if there is an ability to move that product out. Those projects would bring great economic fortune to Canada. However, until we have our own secure pipeline network to our own coasts, we will be missing out on a tremendous opportunity.”

Harding is a Western Standard corresponded based in Saskatchewan

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