October 03, 2017

Affordable Energy News Service for October 3, 2017

Affordable Energy News Service for October 3, 2017

U.S. lawmakers probe Russian ties to anti-oilsands groups — Alexander Panetta

American lawmakers are probing whether Russian oil money is funding anti-oil protest movements in North America, including environmental groups that have fought pipeline projects for Canada’s oilsands. - Vancouver Sun


Ontario is about to become a natural gas battleground and the winners will be consumers — Geoffrey Morgan

Alberta natural gas producers aim to wrestle back market share from their U.S. counterparts in booming eastern Canada, after TransCanada Corp. slashed its tolls by 58 per cent on its pipeline system that sends gas from Empress, Alta. to southern Ontario. TransCanada agreed to cut its tolls from $1.86 per gigajoule to 77 cents per GJ with 23 shippers, who in turn, committed to ship 1.4 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day on the system for 10 years. The new contracts were signed in March and approved by the National Energy Board on Sept. 21, which led to an immediate drop in Ontario natural gas prices. - Calgary Herald


Kinder Morgan pipeline could reignite oilsands political battles — James Wood

After years of heated political battles over the oilsands, a question looms — are passions cooling for a more peaceful future? In the last decade, the oilsands have landed in the crosshairs of environmentalists who have taken aim at Alberta over the province’s high greenhouse gas emissions and tried to block pipeline projects intended to open new markets for its bitumen resource. Premier Rachel Notley said the issue around pipelines has become marine safety and tanker traffic, not the oilsands’ carbon footprint. - Edmonton Journal


Pledged support for city rings hollow — Editorial

Premier Brian Gallant says that Energy East is likely dead, in light of his conversations with the CEO of TransCanada, the Calgary-based company that had proposed to build a $15.7-billion pipeline expansion to connect Alberta oil with Saint John. Gallant is adamant that his government has supported and stood up for Energy East. Yet he does not dispute the assessment changes that put a much higher burden on TransCanada to account for greenhouse gas emissions; these are the very changes to which the company attributed its decision to suspend the proposal. Instead, Gallant says that these considerations were necessary from a “social acceptance perspective.” We’re disappointed to see the premier toe two lines from the federal Liberals. First, that infrastructure projects need to achieve a consensus of social license – when they actually need no more than expert opinion that the benefits outweigh the costs. And second, that TransCanada is suspending its application not because of the new regulatory burden, but because of market conditions. The premier says that whether or not Energy East gets built, his government will continue to support Saint John. If New Brunswick can’t manage to secure the most obvious, straightforward economic project, how can we hope that any government will succeed in reviving the city as an industrial engine? - The Telegraph Journal


The mask gets ripped off yet another carbon-tax dishonesty — Kris Sims

During its mini-budget presentation in Victoria, the British Columbia government announced that the B.C. carbon tax would increase to $50 per tonne by the year 2021. The NDP government has also admitted that the tax will not be revenue neutral. The Trudeau government is not releasing how much these ever increasing carbon taxes will actually cost the consumer, but a document recently obtained by Blacklocks Reporter shows that the federally forced carbon tax of $50 per tonne, set to be in place by the year 2022, will cost western Canadian crop farmers $3,705 per year, and will not reduce their carbon dioxide emissions. Other reports say that the tax will cost drivers 11.6 cents more per litre of gasoline, and will take an extra $50 per month away from people in B.C. - The Financial Post


United States

Trump May Have Found Paths to Save Coal and Hobble Clean Energy — Joe Ryan

President Donald Trump may soon have a chance to prove wrong the notion that economics will kill the U.S. coal industry and keep clean energy thriving. Two initiatives pending in Washington — one to prop up large traditional power plants and a second to impose tariffs on solar panels — could let Trump upend wholesale electricity markets and tip the advantage away from renewables. The moves, which both invoke laws that haven’t been used in a decade, come as Congress begins debating a White House tax plan that may undermine a key source of financing for clean energy. Together, they raise questions about whether falling costs will be enough to keep wind and solar thriving under a president intent on supporting fossil fuels. - Bloomberg  



LNG prices surge as Asia banks on Queensland selling surplus gas at home — Angela MacDonald-Smith

Asian LNG spot prices have spiked 35% in the past month as the prospect that Queensland's LNG ventures will be selling all their surplus gas at home over the next two years. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and the three Queensland LNG ventures signed off on Tuesday on a deal that forces them to fill a shortfall in domestic east coast gas in 2018 and 2019 as LNG market watchers said the growing threat of controls on shipments from Queensland has been driving prices in Asia. It has also had an impact at home, with spot prices of gas in Victoria and other states on the east coast softer than they have been since early this year, although contract offers are still much higher, sources said. - Australian Financial Review