With the debate still raging over Keystone XL, the company behind the pipeline is already hard at work promoting a PR strategy for its larger and entirely Canadian pipeline, Energy East.
Pembina Institute Backgrounder, January 2013
>”The climate implications of the proposed Keystone XL oilsands pipeline
by Nathan Lemphers
At a Glance Canada’s oilsands industry is growing quickly, with plans to nearly triple production from 1.8 to 5.2 million barrels a day by 2030.
To realize this substantial growth, pipelines to export markets are essential. TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline from the oilsands to a new market on the U.S. Gulf Coast is the most significant proposal awaiting approval. If built, Keystone XL will be a key driver for oilsands growth.
Other alternatives to ship oilsands to the west or east coast of Canada will, for the short to medium term, play a less dominant role in accelerating oilsands development. These other proposals are smaller in pipeline capacity than Keystone XL, are in the very early stages of development, or face major public opposition. Regardless of whether other oilsands transport options move ahead, approval of Keystone XL will lead to substantial expansion of oilsands production and therefore an increase in global greenhouse gas emissions.
Filling Keystone XL with oilsands will cause a 36 per cent increase from current oilsands production, for which the higher upstream emissions alone will be equivalent to the annual emissions from 6.3 coal-fired power plants or over 4.6 million cars. This value will be higher when the additional emissions from upgrading and refining in the U.S. are considered.
In the absence of a credible plan for responsible development of the oilsands, including mitigating GHG emissions growth to a level that would allow Canada to meet its international climate commitments, the United States should not go ahead with the proposed Keystone XL pipeline.
Alberta Premier Jim Prentice says his province’s oil companies are not facing closures, even as prices approach $70 a barrel.
>””We don’t see oilsands operations shutting down,” Prentice told CTV’s Question Period in an interview that aired Sunday. “These are massive capital investments that have been built on a 50-year time horizon.”
Crude oil prices have dramatically fallen since June, when prices reached this year’s high of $107.54 USD per barrel of West Texas Intermediate crude oil. On Friday, WTI oil was about $75.70 per barrel.
The report said falling oil prices have been caused by large supply, low demand, and strong U.S. dollar. In order for the price to stabilize, “further oil price drops would likely be needed for supply to take a hit — or for demand growth to get a lift,” it said.
Analysts suggest that once prices fall below $72 a barrel, companies will begin to face serious financial consequences, and that some may be forced to close. But Prentice said Albertan oilsands companies are expected to survive the continuing drop in prices, even if they reach that $72 threshold.
Conservative Alberta MP Kevin Sorenson, the minister of state for finance, disagrees, saying falling oil prices could hurt employment numbers.
“We know that if oil prices continue to fall … in the long term that’s going to be very difficult,” Sorenson told Question Period. “It’s not so much that $70 is the plateau, but if it continued to fall, we could expect that there would be job losses.”
Though Prentice was more optimistic about the “resilience” of Albertan companies, he also said falling prices are cause for concern.
“I don’t want to underestimate the importance of this. The low-price environment has a significant implication for all of us,” Prentice said.
The premier said new projects may need to be postponed, and that the Albertan government must be prepared to control spending and budgeting.
According to the Alberta government’s budget website, if oil prices drop even $1 per barrel over 12 months, it can result in more than $200 million less in revenue for the province.
But Alberta’s provincial government factors all these variables into their economic forecasts.
“People need to be aware it’s a time for fiscal prudence. It’s a time for caution,” Prentice said Sunday. “And it’s a time to control what we can control, which is our public expenditures.” “<
Marc Eliesen has withdrawn as an intervenor in the federal government’s review of Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline and oil tanker expansion project, detailing his reasons for quitting in a scathing 1,500 word letter to the National Energy Board.
>” […] Given the Board’s lack of objectivity it is not surprising that out of the approximately 2000 questions not answered by Trans Mountain that Intervenors called on the Board to compel answers, only 5 per cent were allowed by the Board and 95 per cent were rejected.
The Board had stated that the elimination of cross-examination of the Proponent’s evidence can be evaluated through the two scheduled Information Requests. But we have a Kafkaesque outcome. Trans Mountain refuses to answer questions and the Board does not compel them to do so.
6. The Province of British Columbia stated that “Trans Mountain’s failure to file the evidence requested by the Province in Information Request No. 1 denies the Board, the Province and other Intervenors access to the information required to fully understand the risk posed by the Project, how Trans Mountain proposes to mitigate such risk and Trans Mountain’s ability to effectively respond to a spill related to the Project.”
The Province of British Columbia has the responsibility for undertaking due diligence on behalf of the public trust of British Columbians. The 80 questions Trans Mountain refused to answer — which the Province believed important enough to ask the Board for assistance and compel Trans Mountain to answer — were denied by the Board.
The Board has sided with Trans Mountain dismissing the Province of BC’s need for answers in pursuit of its duty to British Columbians. The NEB’s bias in support of the Proponent is reflecting poorly on the Province of BC in that it is unable to obtain necessary answers to conduct its due diligence. Accordingly, it raises the question as how it is possible for the Province of BC to continue to participate in this hearing process. The Province should cancel the Equivalency Agreement with the NEB on this project and undertake its own environmental assessment as the only meaningful way in which it will be able to effectively obtain the answers it seeks.
The National Energy Board is not fulfilling its obligation to review the Trans Mountain Expansion Project objectively. Accordingly it is not only British Columbians, but all Canadians that cannot look to the Board’s conclusions as relevant as to whether or not this project deserves a social license. Continued involvement in the process endorses this sham and is not in the public interest.
Marc Eliesen “<
A surplus of natural gas in North America explains why the B.C. government is so desperate to launch a new industry
>“The prices that the [B.C.] government is looking at in paving the roads with gold is basically based on these short-term factors that are not likely to persist,” Lee said.
Natural Gas Development Minister Rich Coleman did not make himself available for an interview to respond to Lee’s comments.
B.C. misread U.S. energy revolution
The B.C. government missed the mark with its earlier forecasts on royalties because it failed to predict an explosion in U.S. energy production.
This largely came about through hydraulic fracturing, otherwise known as “fracking”, and horizontal drilling. Technological innovations in fracking generated huge new supplies, causing North American natural-gas prices to plummet.
The falling prices resulted in fewer royalties flowing into the B.C. government treasury.
Fracking involves pumping huge amounts of water along with sand and chemicals into shale-rock formations to free trapped gas.
Horizontal drilling enables companies to retrieve locked supplies by moving the drill bit across a deposit rather than going straight down.
A single platform can send horizontal drills in a multitude of directions, enhancing efficiency and saving money.
In his 2013 book, The Frackers: The Outrageous Inside Story of the New Billionaire Wildcatters (Penguin), Gregory Zuckerman chronicled how a handful of U.S. energy-industry outcasts refined these techniques and caused an American energy revolution.
“To me, it’s fascinating that this resurgence started in 2007 and 2008, which is right when America was sort of on its back,” he told the Straight by phone.
Zuckerman, a Wall Street Journal reporter, said that the United States is now producing about eight million barrels of oil per day, up from five million barrels per day in 2008.
In addition, U.S. natural-gas production rose more than 21 percent between 2008 and 2013.
ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson has predicted that the U.S. will be energy self-sufficient by 2020.
The Frackers reveals that the people who spearheaded this sharp increase in energy production were not working for major oil companies like ExxonMobil, Shell, BP, or Chevron.
Rather, they were an assortment of little-known wildcatters from Texas and Oklahoma—George Mitchell, Aubrey McClendon, Tom Ward, and Harold Hamm—who became billionaires as a result.
They crisscrossed areas with shale reserves, buying drilling rights from property owners. Although there has been a lot of howling from environmentalists about the contamination of water supplies with fracking chemicals, the industry continues to grow.
“Everyone focuses on fracking—and fracking is key, as is horizontal drilling—but the most important thing is that innovators like Mitchell got it to work in shale, which everyone kind of ignored, especially the big guys and the experts,” Zuckerman said.
By targeting shale, Zuckerman maintained, Mitchell changed the country and the world.
That’s because manufacturers with high natural-gas input costs—such as makers of chemicals, tires, cement, and aluminum—are basing operations in the United States because of the low natural-gas prices. And Zuckerman said that this will give the U.S. a competitive advantage against other countries for years to come.
“Some economists say as many as two million jobs are going to be created,” he stated.<
See on www.straight.com
A second pipeline proposal to transport oil to Asia was officially launched on Monday when Kinder Morgan filed a project application for its $5.4-billion Trans Mountain expansion.
>The project would nearly triple oil capacity to 890,000 barrels annually and bring about 400 more tankers a year into Burrard Inlet (up from about 80) if it is approved by the National Energy Board and subsequently by the federal government.
The 1,150-kilometre pipeline will carry diluted bitumen from the Alberta oilsands, starting in Edmonton, through Jasper and across B.C. to the company’s Westbridge Terminal in Burnaby.
Kinder Morgan says nearly three-quarters of the proposed expanded pipeline’s length across most of the province will follow the existing right-of-way where the pipeline was first built in the 1950s. About 17 per cent of the route, and virtually all the way through the Lower Mainland west of Fort Langley, will deviate from the current line, but would follow other existing utility corridors or infrastructure.
Kinder Morgan is promising enhanced tanker safety in its more-than-15,000-page submission, and says it is continuing discussions with First Nations, whose support is critical to large infrastructure development projects in B.C.
The twinning of Kinder Morgan’s existing pipeline has already seen years of pushback from First Nations, environmentalists and community groups concerned about the potential for spills along the pipeline and from tankers. Both Vancouver and Burnaby’s city councils have voiced opposition to the project.
The project would create about 90 permanent jobs, and employ 4,500 people at the peak of construction.<
See on www.vancouversun.com
Ronald J. Binz, nominated to lead the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, is opposed by the coal industry because of his efforts to promote renewable energy.
>At the Electricity Consumers Resource Council, which represents large industrial customers, Marc Yacker, a vice president, said that the coal industry had some reason to be worried. The industry believes, he said, that “the whole idea of socializing the cost of new transmission necessary to get wind to population centers is anti-coal.”<
See on www.nytimes.com
In several areas, Indian rules and regulations make honest business impossible. The only choice is illegal business or no business.
>Sand is essential for construction. Sand, gravel and cement are mixed to produce concrete. But an acute sand shortage has been created by licensing and environmental bottlenecks. So, mafia groups are mining river beds illegally across India. It’s easy: one mechanical excavator can extract several truckloads of sand every night.
Sand helps retain monsoon water in river beds, releasing the water gradually in the dry season. Excessive mining endangers this. Central and state governments have detailed environmental rules for extraction, made even tougher by court interventions. Ideally, we should have environmentally safe mining that meets rising construction demand.
Instead we have grossly insufficient legal mining, huge illegal mining, sand scarcity for construction, and big illegal profits split between the mafia and politicians.
A former cabinet minister recently declared that political parties are now funded mainly by the mafia, not by big business. This again is part of the untold Durga Sakthi story.
Politicians used to demand bribes for mining licences. Now, they deliberately hold back leases to make sand scarcer, and more profitable. […]<
See on www.cato.org
The ethanol industry is again under fire from critics who want to eliminate the federal mandate that oil companies blend biofuels into the gasoline supply.
>“There will be a push in our committee by some, Republicans and Democrats, to do away with the RFS, saying that it’s just completely unnecessary today, that we have enough gas and oil, that we just don’t need another fuel source, let alone subsidizing it,” Terry said.
An Environmental Protection Agency analysis found that the renewable fuel requirements will displace billions of gallons of petroleum-based fuel consumption, reduce domestic motor fuel prices and increase U.S. farm income. But it also found the potential for higher food prices.
In 2000, ethanol accounted for about 6 percent of the nation’s corn crop. Last year, it accounted for 40 percent of the corn crop.
That’s why the standard’s critics include the grocery industry and some livestock producers that want cheaper grain to feed their animals.<
See on www.omaha.com
Metrics providers offer social media influence scores; here’s what you need to know about them.
Do Social Scores Really Matter?
Unfortunately the answer is much more complicated than a simple yes or no. The majority of experts Government Technology spoke with said that, specifically in the public sector (versus the private sector), the social media influence scores of those who follow you tend to matter much more than your own scores. Why? Because others’ Klout and Kred scores can help you better identify whom in your constituency to respond to, as well as how best and how soon to engage with them. Social media influence scores essentially offer a shortcut to identifying, evaluating and engaging key influencers in your specific sector.
For example, someone with high Klout and Kred scores has a wide scope of influence online. What they say, post, share or tweet about your federal, state or local agency within their own and others’ social media networks has a higher potential to reach and impact others significantly more (and perhaps more meaningfully) than someone with low social media influence scores.
“If you are a government agency and you have someone yelling and screaming at you on Twitter or Facebook, or if someone just created a social media account simply to harass an agency, a social media manager or communications director could pick up on a person like that very quickly if they have both a low Klout score and low Kred scores,” said David Gerzof Richard, a social media and marketing professor at Emerson College in Boston and president of public relations and social media firm BIGfish.
“Conversely if you find people who have high Klout and Kred scores, and they really understand where your agency is going, and your agency’s goals, and they’re sharing your social media content, those people would especially be your super targets,” Richard said. “They’re the people you want to make sure are seeing your agency’s social media messaging and content, because they’re actively sharing it and they have a high rate of influence. What they share gets a lot of exposure and engagement, so it’s important to engage them.”
Examining your followers’ social media influence scores also helps to quickly, easily separate the “wheat from the chaff,” said Richard, enabling you to prioritize positive influencers and advocates over “noisy,” negative trolls and other disruptive followers. Be Aware, but not too Concerned
“I think it’s a good practice for state and local governments to be aware of their social media metric scores, but I wouldn’t say they should necessarily be concerned about them, particularly on a day-to-day basis,” said Bill Greeves, CIO of Wake County, N.C., and co-author of Social Media in the Public Sector Field Guide.
See on www.govtech.com