October 10, 2017

Affordable Energy News for October 10, 2017

Affordable Energy News for October 10, 2017

Trudeau accuses opponents of stoking regional divisions after pipeline cancellation—CP

Prime Minister Trudeau accused his Conservative opposition of attempting to create regional divisions between the provinces following last week’s cancellation of the Energy East pipeline. In a Facebook post, Mr. Trudeau wrote, “Aside from its being intellectually dishonest, the reflexive stoking of regional tensions is a political dead end.” Mr. Trudeau referenced the Quebec unity debates from the 1970s – 1990s, suggesting that the Conservative government was initiating similar discussions. In response to Conservative leader Andrew Scheer’s accusations that Trudeau take responsibility for the cancellation, Mr. Trudeau said that the pipeline was cancelled for business reasons. - The Chronicle Herald  

Surprise, surprise, the government sabotages yet another energy project—National Post Editorial Board

The Liberal government ran on a platform of pipeline approval, despite their commitment to protect the environment. However, Canadians can see from the government’s work in foiling first Enbridge’s Northern Gateway project, and now TransCanada’s Energy East pipeline that the Trudeau government is not as pipeline friendly as they promised. A fair regulatory system would have submitted both these projects to evidence-based decision making. When Energy East was first submitted to the National Energy board, the requirements for approval were completely different than now. The cancellation of Energy East might have been partly influenced by economics, but it is the ongoing pattern of political interferences that has made energy projects less predictable and less affordable in Canada than in stabler environments. Now, Eastern Canadians will continue to import energy from often abhorrent regimes abroad, thousands of potential jobs have been lost, and a grim signal has been sent to global investors about our willingness and ability to get business done. - The National Post  

Trudeau wants to phase out the oil sands. That’s why its already happening—Lorrie Goldstein

In January, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that he wanted to “phase out” the oil sands and transition Canada to a low carbon economy. This comment created such an uproar in Alberta that Trudeau backtracked, saying he “misspoke”. But the cancelled Energy East pipeline shows that Mr. Trudeau has every intention of fulfilling his January promise. Trudeau’s principal secretary Gerald Butts, who formerly headed the World Wildlife Fund, stated in 2012 that he “didn’t think there ought to be a carbon-based energy industry by the middle of this century.” Trudeau and the Liberals will argue they’ve been approving pipelines, but everyone knows their hearts aren’t in it, given their goal of phasing out the oil sands. - The Toronto Sun

Trudeau’s NEP redux: a No-Energy Program—Lorne Gunter

Former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau introduced the National Energy Program in the 1980’s with the goal of confiscating the West’s new-found energy wealth in order to benefit the objectives of Central Canadians. It is clear that Prime Minister Trudeau Jr. has a similar penchant for removing energy industry opportunity. Despite the fact that the federal Liberals have tried to shift the blame from their party to the economy, it is clear that Mr. Trudeau’s government surreptitiously killed the Energy East pipeline. All of this comes from “magic wand thinking” – the belief that a modern prosperous society can be powered by wind, solar and bug burps alone. This is not the yet the case. - The Toronto Sun  

Same rules applied to Energy East as other projects: Jim Carr—Monique Scotti

Appearing on Global News’ The West Block last week, Jim Carr said that the cancellation of the Energy East pipeline project is a disappointment, but that his government was not to blame. “Markets change and the capacity changes over time, but the regulatory process didn’t change. The very same rules that applied to Energy East applied to other projects that were ultimately approved by the government of Canada. Conditions have changed and ultimately it’s a business decision.” When asked if pipeline projects in Canada are simply doomed to failure even after getting government approval, Carr said success will always depend on a company’s willingness to build the pipeline. - Global News  

NEB defends itself over Energy East’s death—Adam Huras

Amid accusations that the National Energy Board’s decision this summer to include an assessment of upstream and downstream greenhouse gas emissions in their review of the Energy East pipeline was what killed the project, the NEB has defended their process. The NEB is also not saying whether or not they would have accepted Prime Minister Trudeau’s offer to pay for the additional cost in the review. Premier Gallant, who accused the NEB of having an “unclear” review process now believes that it was the energy market which killed the project, and not environmental hurdles. “Given the positive signals the federal government has sent to TransCanada over the last weeks…we believe it is clear that TransCanada is not proceeding with its application for the Energy East pipeline because recent changes to world market conditions and the price of oil have negatively impacted the viability of the project.” - The Telegraph Journal  

The oily excuses of Justin Trudeau—Lorrie Goldstein

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr are both refusing to take the blame for the cancellation of the Energy East pipeline, saying that the decision came from a business perspective, and had to do with the changing market conditions. Trudeau also blamed the Opposition for stirring the pot, and “stoking national divisions” in blaming his government for the cancellation. In their own statement, TransCanada wrote that “there remains substantial uncertainty around the scope, timing, and cost associated with the regulatory review of the Projects. There is also the question of jurisdiction that arises from the National Energy Board’s Decision.” Both Trudeau and Carr, misleadingly, omitted that TransCanada itself attributed its decision to federal regulations. - The Toronto Sun  

Like it or not, the oilsands are a national project and you're a stakeholder—Aaron Wherry

The Energy East pipeline was mourned this week as a "nation-building project" that could have been, with the leader of Her Majesty's Opposition, the premier of Alberta and the mayor of Saint John, N.B., all applying that patriotic stamp on Thursday. To be sure, oil from Alberta would have travelled east to New Brunswick, with construction creating jobs in other provinces along the way. - CBC

Wall at centre of years-long debate over Energy East—D.C. Fraser

The long road to building the Energy Easy pipeline hit a dead end on Thursday, with TransCanada Corp. announcing its scrapping of the controversial project once dubbed a nation builder. Although there were signs of cooperation between the provinces in relation to the project, its demise this week resulted in renewed fervour for western separation and Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall comparing the federal Liberal government to a hostage taker. - Regina Leader Post

Energy East demise affects Manitoba least—WFP Editorial Board

Last week’s cancellation of the Energy East pipeline project by TransCanada Corp. represented a huge victory for the nation’s environmental-activist community and a major setback for the petroleum sector and the affiliated construction firms and service providers that would have been involved in building the pipeline. Manitoba was, both literally and figuratively, stuck in the middle of the Energy East upheaval. Benefits to this province would have been limited mostly to approximately 500 construction and maintenance jobs, but environmental concerns were raised by the proposed pipeline’s proximity to the aqueduct that carries Winnipeg’s water supply from Shoal Lake. - Winnipeg Free Press

Feds indifferent to regional needs—Chronicle Herald Editorial Board

The $15.7-billion Energy East project to pipe Western Canadian oil to Atlantic Canada is dead — a tremendous loss to this region’s economy and to sensible diversification of Canadian oil exports from the capricious grip of the American market. To add insult to injury, we can’t even get a frank post mortem. TransCanada gave the barest of explanations for pulling the plug Thursday, citing a “careful review of changed circumstances.” That left a blank page for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to fill with a story that this was all about economics — low oil prices, cheaper routes, the likely approval of Keystone XL in the U.S. — and nothing to do with federal regulatory mismanagement. - The Chronicle Herald

Crude-by-rail reliance expected to increase after Energy East cancellation—Nia Williams and Ethan Lou

The news that TransCanada will be cancelling its Energy East pipeline approval, and the continuing conditions in Canada proving that pipelines are extremely difficult to construct, mean that Canada’s increasing production of crude, expected to temporarily outpace pipelines space over the next two years, could face a long-term lack of pipeline capacity and subsequent lower prices if crude becomes bottlenecked in Alberta. This is good news for rail transport, however, despite the fact that transporting oil by rail is less cost efficient (around US$11-US$14 a barrel versus US$7 a barrel) and less safe then by pipeline. Analysts are expecting a surge in crude-by-rail exports later this year as two major oil sands projects in norther Alberta add 270,000 bpd to Canada’s current 3.85 million bpd of production. - BNN

TransCanada now turns its attention to another pipeline project—Adam Huras

After the announcement of the cancellation of the Energy East pipeline last week, TransCanada has turned its attention to the Keystone XL pipeline. Formerly blocked during President Obama’s administration, Keystone has found new life under President Trump. There is debate among energy analysts as to whether or not TransCanada would ever have constructed both Energy East and Keystone XL. Tim Pickering, an expert who created the Canadian Crude Index argues that it was political red tape which killed Energy East and that both pipelines could have been built if the political environments were more favourable. Afolabi Ogunnaike, a Wood Mackenzie analyst, wrote in a research note published in January that, “At best, we would expect TransCanada to build Keystone XL or Energy East, but not both.” - The Telegraph Journal  

Environmental groups denounce Trump override of climate plan—CP

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt announced Monday that he would be issuing a new set of rules overriding the former administration’s Clean Power Plan. Mr. Pruitt spoke to a crowd in Kentucky, saying “the war on coal is over,” and adding that no federal agency should ever use its authority to “declare war on any sector of our economy.” These comments sparked backlash from Democrats (including New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who argued he would sue the Trump Administration if they went through with this) and US environmental groups. It is unclear whether Pruitt would seek to issue a new rule without congressional approval. Obama’s plan was designed to cut U.S. carbon dioxide emissions to 32% below 2005 levels by 2030. It resulted in the lose of many jobs across the country. - CTV News  

United States

OPEC urges U.S. shale to take ‘shared responsibility’ to cut oil output—Sara Sjolin

OPEC’s Secretary General Mohammed Barkindo on Tuesday called on U.S. shale producers to take responsibility and help curb the global supply glut in the oil market that has kept a lid on prices in recent years. Speaking at the India Energy Forum in New Delhi, the boss of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries said “some extraordinary measures” may be needed to balance supply and demand, including help from producers outside the cartel. “We urge our friends in the shale basins of North America to take this shared responsibility with all the seriousness it deserves, as one of the key lessons learned from the current, unique supply-driven cycle,” Barkindo said. “We all, at the end of the day, when all is said and done, belong to the same industry and operate in the same markets.” - MarketWatch  

Harvey and Irma remind us of the importance of energy infrastructureCraig Stevens

With Hurricanes Harvey and Irma subsided, now begins the difficult and often heart-wrenching work for those affected throughout Texas, Florida and the Southeast. Communities face the hard task of beginning to repair and rebuild infrastructure fundamental to day-to-day life. There is a lot of work to be done. Sixty percent of the country’s 2.4 million miles of oil and gas pipelines were built before 1970 when federal authorities began seriously regulating them. Even though many refineries are unequipped to process the light, sweet crude oil abundant here at home, since 1977 only one new refinery has been built—putting a greater strain on transportation lines and concentrating refining capabilities. It will require strong public-private partnerships and considerable investment to modernize and expand the country’s energy networks. - RealClearEnergy  


Don't blame us for high energy prices, say infrastructure owners—Christopher Pearce

Leaders of the energy transportation sector have put the case for further investment in electricity transmission lines and gas pipelines as a way to help distribute power and gas more evenly between states and ultimately help bring down energy prices. Paul Italiano, chief executive of NSW electricity distributor Transgrid, said that only a "relatively modest" investment to increase capacity to take electricity from Queensland would alleviate the risk of blackouts in NSW. New investment would also help with the integration of increased renewable energy supply. Queensland has 3600 megawatts of surplus coal-fired generation capacity over and above the state's peak demand, while NSW is facing blackout risks, he said at The Australian Financial Review's National Energy Summit.  "We have the surplus capacity, and we have the demand. We have a relatively modest increase in transmission investment which would access that," Mr Italiano said. - Australian Financial Review